Laila Ali says she'll miss her legendary father deeply, but doesn't feel alone in her grief because "the whole world is sad."
The daughter of Muhammad Ali, who died Friday in Arizona at age 74 following a long battle with Parkinson's disease, tells NBC's "Today" show Monday that her father is "not suffering anymore." When asked whether he had grown weary of fighting the condition, Ali said death was one of the things her father feared and "he definitely wouldn't want to just move on."
Ali says she'll remember him as "a loving father," who "always puts children first." She says she just told her own children about their grandfather's death Monday morning.
Ali, a former boxing champion herself, says she shares her father's trademark confidence.
She also appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss her father's passing and his life.
"Obviously I'm sad, I'm going to miss my father, but I've been sad for a long time because my father's been struggling with Parkinson's for a long time," Ali said. "So I'm happy knowing that he's no longer struggling, and that's what gives me comfort."
"My dad was not only the best fighter ever, but also such a great man, and there will never be anyone else like him. And I think that anywhere you go in the world, people not only recognize him but also love him because of the man that he is. Because he stood up for his beliefs. He fought for those that couldn't speak up for themselves, and he'll truly be missed by all of us."
Laili, who retired with an undefeated 24-0 record in 2007, said her father tried to persuade her not to become a fighter.
"He tried to talk me out of it indirectly, but obviously I did what I wanted to do, and he knew I was going to do what I wanted to do. He had so much respect for the fact that I did what I believed in, just like he did," Ali said.
"I knew in the beginning of my career ... if I start trying to be like my dad now, I'll never be able to stop. So I went about my own career in my own way -- and I love my dad, I love him, but I love me, too. So I wanted to do my own thing."