Boxing legend Muhammad Ali released from hospital after 18-day stay

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Muhammad Ali

(CNN) — Boxing legend Muhammad Ali was released from a hospital Tuesday night after an 18-day stay for treatment of a urinary tract infection, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Ali, 72, was admitted to an undisclosed hospital on December 20 for what spokesman Bob Gunnell initially said was a mild case of pneumonia. The diagnosis later changed.

“After further observation and testing, doctors determined that Ali was suffering from a severe urinary tract infection, not pneumonia as originally diagnosed,” Gunnell said Wednesday. “The boxing legend has fully recovered and is now at his home.”

He said Ali was looking forward to celebrating his 73rd birthday on January 17 with his family and friends.

Born Cassius Clay, the fighter won an Olympic gold medal as a light-heavyweight at 18.

In 1964, he became world heavyweight champion in an upset victory against Sonny Liston.

Shortly thereafter, he changed his name to Muhammad Ali to reflect his conversion to Islam.

The boxer was also known for his protest against the Vietnam War and refusal to be drafted into service out of religious conviction.

He retired from boxing in 1981 and announced his diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease three years later.