Iconic boxer Muhammad Ali passed away on Friday (Jun. 3) at the age of 74.
Through the years, he has been simply known as “The Greatest,” and as someone the hip-hop community loved dearly, what with his impressive skills in the ring and on the microphone, as one of the sport’s most charismatic and extraordinary figures.
Shortly after learning of his passing, rappers and singers responded by celebrating “The Greatest of All Time.” DJ Quik, for instance, spoke with Rap-Up about Ali at Power 106’s Powerhouse on Friday night just as the news broke.
“Growing up watching Ali, in 1975-76, on the ‘Wide World of Sports,’ those were the first big, big fights,” said the Compton producer. “That started pay-per-view. There wouldn’t be no Tyson if it wasn’t for Muhammad Ali.
“He was magnetic,” he added. “He was the kind of dude who could have easily been an actor, a pitch man for sports cars and liquor and all that because he had the gift of gab and he was a looker. Girls loved this man. For somebody to be that handsome, to get in the ring, get your face beat up, and like he said, ‘I’m still pretty.’ He was a total marketing guy, man. Very witty. Quick. And pound-for-pound, the greatest boxer of all time.”
Other stars also responded to Ali’s passing, delivering tribute-after-tribute to the legendary fighter on social media.
Diddy, who has a tattoo of Ali’s signature on his chest, shared his love for the fighter on Instagram. “Thank you for always showing me and my family love,” Puff wrote in a tribute post. “He was so kind to everyone he met! I want my son @princejdc to always cherish this moment. #RIPALI we miss you. We love you. You have changed the world. And taught us all something REST IN PEACE GREAT ONE.”
In another post—this one featuring just the two of them together—he thanked him for “the love” again.
“This pic means so much to me,” he explained. “The love he showed me he didn’t have too. He always was excited to see me. He even came to see me on Broadway in A Raisin In The Sun. He sat thru a 3 hr play to see me. IT bugged me out. It humbled me. Thank you for the love. I MISS YOU. #RIPALI.”
Mariah Carey, who serenaded Ali at his 60th birthday celebration, sent her heartfelt condolences. “R.I.P. to the ‘greatest of all time,'” she wrote on Instagram. “A true legend always….’float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ 👑 Thank you for being an inspiration to the world. #MuhammadAli.”
J.Lo was reminded of Ali’s greatness while in Las Vegas for her “All I Have” residency. “Lying here at Caesars after my show tonight in Vegas thinking about the #GOAT #muhammadali and thinking about how he inspired me and soooo many to want to be their greatest,” she wrote. “#RIP 🙏🏼 #ALI #inspiration #suchalegend.”
The Weeknd, who’s usually quite private on social media, also provided this message for Ali: “rest in peace to powerful and peaceful King Ali. the greatest of all time. you put confidence in all our hearts.”
LL Cool J echoed those sentiments. “Forever The Greatest,” he wrote. “Muhammad Ali, we are all stronger because of the light you shared with us. Rest in peace G.O.A.T. I love you.”
Madonna also paid homage to “The Greatest.” “What is going on??!!” she asked. “We are losing all of our National Treasures. Our Pillars of Humanity. He was the Greatest! 💘”
Lil Wayne, Future, Lil’ Kim, and Juicy J were also among those who celebrated Ali. They released a series of tweets, celebrating the People’s Champ.
Chris Brown shared an image and a quote. Nas posted a few photos, one captioned “My teacher. Thank you Ali.” 50 Cent also uploaded a photo of Ali with a lot of money surrounding him. And Swizz Beatz paid tribute next to Ali artwork.
The Game shared one of Ali’s famous quotes: “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”
And Nicki Minaj posted a video, showing just how legendary Ali’s gift of gab was.
“I’m the king of the world,” he says in the clip. “I’m pretty. I’m a bad man. I shook up the world.”