Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - Louisville boxing legend Jimmy Ellis was 74 years old when he passed in the early morning of May 6 after a long battle with ALzheimer's.
Ellis was good friends with another Louisville legend, Muhammad Ali, whom he trained with under Angelo Dundee.
"Great competitors who happen to be great friends are rare. Jimmy Ellis was that to me, and I will miss him," Ali said.
Ellis fought Ali in 1971 and lost.
"It was his gentle manner and the compassion in his heart that I found most worthy of admiration. I had a kinship with Jimmy and felt like he and I were of the same cloth," Ali said.
Ellis worked at Metro Parks from February 1989 to March 2003, as a Manager of Recreation Programs.
Metro Parks officials released the following statement:
"Jimmy Ellis is remembered with great fondness and appreciation for the lives he touched while working at Louisville Metro Parks & Recreation. The time he spent working with youth, motivating them to learn and grow, as well as his work with individuals with disabilities in our Adapted Leisure Activities programs are an important part of the legacy he leaves behind from his life outside the boxing ring, and are among the many contributions he made to this community. He will be missed, and we join his many friends and fans in offering our condolences to his family."
Family members are currently working on funeral arrangements.