Harrison Ford paid tribute to the late Muhammad Ali at Celebrity Fight Night.
The 74-year-old actor praised the sporting legend, who tragically died in June last year aged 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease, at the annual charity event at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday (18.03.17), for being a source of wisdom and inspiration to him.
Speaking at the star-studded bash, the ‘Star Wars’ star said: “Seeing what he went through, the way he conducted himself, the hard choices that he made was inspiring to me, and I’m grateful for his wisdom.”
And Muhammad’s wife Lonnie Ali was taken aback by the overwhelming feeling of love at the ceremony, although she could feel the presence of her deceased husband – who had attended the annual event for the 19 years prior to his passing – around her.
She said: “There’s such a love in this room. Tonight especially, that love is very evident. I know Muhammad’s here.”
The evening was put together by filmmaker David Foster, who arranged for Dennis Quaid and the Sharks, as well as Beach Boys’ co-founder Mike Love, to perform.
The event also saw a live auction take place, with guests bidding on the chance to enjoy a dinner at 59-year-old actress Sharon Stone’s Los Angeles home with ‘Grease’ actor John Travolta and Kelly Preston, as well as a feast with Reba McEntire in Nashville, Tennessee.
Reminiscing about Muhammad, the ‘Casino’ actress said: “He was very nice to me and called my dad and asked if I could be in the movie ‘The Greatest’. [Ali said] ‘Mr. Stone, you can hide that girl under bushel or basket, but she’s going to be in movies.’
“He was a very dear friend to me and obviously he meant a lot to the world and he meant a lot to me personally. [He has] become like a family.”
Sir Paul McCartney was unable to attend the event but sent in a video tribute to the late sportsman.
Muhammad’s Celebrity Fight Night raised over $127 million, with proceeds going towards the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Centre at the Barrow Neurological Institute.