Remembering Muhammad Ali and 2016 Celebrity Deaths

Ronald Reagan and Muhammad Ali. Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library

We survived another year.

My ambition increases as I age, and learn about the deaths of friends and celebrities.

Waking up in the morning, starts a new day filled with promise. If I have an unsuccessful or annoying day, I still fall asleep expecting to wake up with new opportunities and trails to blaze.

I used to read a newspaper once a week. However, I could not ignore the news in 2016.

Let’s forget politics, and remember a few celebrities who died in 2016.

Muhammad Ali: The Greatest

Muhammad Ali was “The Greatest” boxer and Vietnam War protester. He refused to be drafted in 1966, and should have been declared a conscientious objector. Ali said:

Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.

Ali’s boxing license was revoked in 1966, but he was disciplined and stayed in shape. His boxing license was restored in 1971, after he successfully appealed two decisions to the US Supreme Court.

Ali regained his title in 1974, with a knockout victory over George Foreman. Before the fight, Ali said:

I’ve done something new for this fight. I done wrestled with an alligator, I done tussled with a whale; handcuffed lightning, thrown thunder in jail; only last week, I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick; I’m so mean I make medicine sick.

Ali lost his title in 1978, regained it in 1979. He inspired me, and members of my generation.

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. The original Star Wars film is one of my favorites. The adventure begins:

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…

The adventure continued with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and others directed by George Lucas in several sequels.

Return of the Jedi, the third Star Wars movie, was promoted with a photo of Carrie Fisher wearing a metal bikini.

There was no Star Wars without Carrie Fisher.

Unfortunately, Fisher developed a cocaine habit. During an interview with Diane Sawyer, Fisher said:

I used to think I was a drug addict, pure and simple — just someone who could not stop taking drugs willfully

A source reported that Fisher went on a cocaine binge, shortly before her death.

More 2016 Celebrity Deaths

I do not understand why successful actors and musicians kill themselves with drugs and sex.

David Bowie died of liver cancer. The leading causes of liver cancer are cirrhosis and hepatitis.

Prince’s cause of death was “The decedent self-administered fentanyl.” Prince had an appointment for the day after his death with a physician who specialized in addiction. Prince overdosed on opiates a few weeks before his untimely death from another overdose.

George Michael cracked up a few cars, and sustained a head injury falling out of a car. He used to smoke 25 spliffs a day. George Michael’s autopsy was inconclusive, but he was only 53 years old.

Is She Alive?

13 year old Jahi McMath was declared legally dead in 2013, after surgery to correct sleep apnea at Children’s Hospital Oakland.

Jahi’s Mom, Latasha “Nailah” Winkfield has filed 46 medical lawsuits for Jahi. Winkfield moved Jahi out of the hospital after losing a lawsuit to compel the hospital to insert a breathing tube in Jahi’s throat and a feeding tube in her nose.

In my opinion, Jahi’s biggest problem is California’s $250,000 medical malpractice cap for patients who die.

Winkfield keeps her daughter in a vegetative state, trying to prove that Jahi is alive.

If Jahi is alive, Winkfield can sue for costs to maintain her life, Jahi’s lost earnings for her working life, etc. Millions of dollars are at stake.

I hope Jahi is allowed to die in 2017.

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