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ALI RANG FINAL BELL; Daughter: Dad made monitor go ding, ding before he died.

Byline: CHRISTOPHER BUCKTIN US Editor in Louisville, Kentucky

AS Muhammad Ali's life ebbed away, the dialysis machine he was hooked up to went "ding, ding, ding" like the bell at a boxing match, his grieving family have revealed.

His daughter Rasheda said she believes her dad did it on purpose to make his loved ones laugh one last time.

She added the family had been in floods of tears while they watched over him as he lay stricken on life support in hospital.

Rasheda said: "The dialysis bell went 'ding, ding, ding'.

"We all kind of stopped. I thought, 'Somebody's ringing a boxing bell'. I looked at him instinctively and said, 'Get your ass up'. Everybody started laughing.

"And I said, 'Dad did that. He was looking for a way to make the mood more comical and stop us crying'.

"I felt he rang that bell on purpose, and then we all burst into tears again."

Ali's wife Lonnie had managed to fly most of his nine children and some of his adult grandchildren to his hospital bed in Phoenix, Arizona, by Friday afternoon as they began to realise he would not recover.

The dialysis bell sounded as they sat whispering beside the boxing legend.

Describing the moments before his death, Rasheda, who was born to Ali's second wife Belinda Boyd in 1970, said: "It was solemn.

We felt he did hear us, but he was not really responding." She added his children had private time with their dad at the hospital.

Rasheda's half-sister Hana, whose mum is Ali's third wife Veronica Porche, said: "He'd gotten up off the mat so often, it was hard to believe he wouldn't get up one more time.

"We all cried and kissed him one by one and walked out of the room. It was hard. But there was a sense of relief he had passed in such a beautiful way. He looked peaceful."

In Ali's final minutes his longtime doctor said his last goodbye just after 8pm ly or local time. An imam then led the family in Islamic prayer as the heart monitorrecorded the final blips.

Ali, 74, died from septic shock on Friday at 9.10pm. The three-time world heavyweight champion will be buried tomorrow after a funeral service that will be attended by 18,000 people including actor Will Smith, boxing star Lennox Lewis and former president Bill Clinton.

chris.bucktin@mirror.co.ukuk uk

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HUG Rasheda with her dad

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2016
Words:412
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