Muhammad Ali has died in a Phoenix-area hospital where he was battling respiratory issues ... according to a family spokesman.
The legendary boxer and humanitarian was 74 years old. He had checked into the hospital on Thursday and reps said he was in fair condition, but on Friday his health worsened throughout the day.
The family says his funeral will be held in Ali's hometown of Louisville, although the spokesman didn't specify a date. NBC News first reported his death.
Ali will be remembered as one of the most recognized figures worldwide -- after winning boxing's heavyweight title 3 different times ... with the first coming in a KO of Sonny Liston in 1964.
He was as famous for his boxing matches -- the "Rumble in the Jungle," the "Thrilla in Manila" -- as quotes like, "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." MORE HERE