Paul McCartney and Muhammad Ali had known each other for over 50 years before the legendary boxer passed away on Friday evening. We’ve already seen everyone from pro athletes, to famous authors, to the President of the United States pay tribute to The Greatest, and now McCartney has chimed in as well.
On his website, the former Beatles member made a statement saying he “loved that man” and remarking about Ali’s propensity to impress people with card tricks.
“Dear Muhammad Ali. I loved that man. He was great from the first day we met him in Miami, and on the numerous occasions when I ran into him over the years. Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humour who would often pull a pack of cards out of his pocket, no matter how posh the occasion, and do a card trick for you. The world has lost a truly great man. Love Paul”
If you’re interested in seeing some of Ali’s magic tricks for yourself, here’s a video of him performing magic for none other than wrestling legend Ric Flair.
McCartney and The Beatles first interacted when they were making their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1964, and that is when the iconic photos of Ali pretending to punch the world’s most famous rock band came from. According to Rolling Stone, The Beatles initially wanted to meet the heavyweight champ Sonny Liston, but since Liston had no interest in talking with them, they posed with Ali instead. Ali would take the title off of Liston in Miami one week later.
In case you’re wondering, the other living member of The Beatles, Ringo Starr also paid tribute to Ali’s passing on his Twitter account, saying “God Bless Muhammad Ali peace and love to all his family”