“His health has been declining rapidly this past year,” a pal revealed to The National ENQUIRER.
Now the 72-year-old boxing legend has all but lost the ability to speak as a result of his illness.
“His lips quivered, but no words came out,” said the friend. “It was like he had been struck dumb."
“At times his lips would twitch as he stared straight ahead. At times his head went limp and just hung there. It was all so, so sad.”
Another source tells the publication that during a recent 15-minute visit, Ali had “fear” etched on his “paralyzed” face. “His eyes were fixed on me, but kind of unfocused,” says the source.
“I saw fear in them for the first time. He was truly shattered, a shell, not able to utter a sound.
Ali family spokesperson Robert Gunnell denied his beloved client can’t speak and explained: “He often communicates with family and friends. His speaking style is softer. He continues to speak by his courage, his love and his faith – and he does so with great clarity to those who are listening.”
But the source added: “Just like he did in the boxing ring, if he’s going down, he’s going down swinging.”