Following the death of civil rights and sporting legend Muhammad Ali on Saturday (June 4), tributes have poured out from public figures and basically anyone with an internet connection. One of those people is the masterful lyricist Bob Dylan, who as Ali's contemporary rallied against many of the same political institutions in the 1960s and beyond.
A statement posted to the singer's website stays true to Dylan's age-old penchant for thoughtfulness. It reads:
"If the measure of greatness is to gladden the heart of every human being on the face of the earth, then he truly was the greatest. In every way he was the bravest, the kindest and the most excellent of men."
Dylan is no stranger to dabbling in pugilistic subject matter in his songs, having written "The Hurricane" about the falsely incarcerated boxer Ruben "Hurricane" Carter in 1976. As Rolling Stone notes, Dylan name-drops Ali on his 1964 album Another Side of Bob Dylan. On that record, he uses the boxer's original name, Cassius Clay, in a verse: "I was shadow-boxing earlier in the day / I figured I was ready for Cassius Clay."
Muhammad Ali was 74 when he succumbed to his longtime battle with Parkinson's disease.