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Celebs honor Muhammad Ali's 70th birthday in Vegas

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Bash raises money for brain research

What do you give the man who has everything on his 70th birthday? If you're a friend of Muhammad Ali, you throw a star-studded bash at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Bash raises money for brain research

Everyone from Cindy Crawford to LL Cool J and Sugar Ray Leonard showed up at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, Feb. 18 to help iconic boxer Muhammad Ali celebrate his 70th birthday in style. The event — set for air on ESPN2 on Saturday, Feb. 25 — was part of Keep Memory Alive's annual Power of Love Gala and Fundraiser.

The sold-out audience of 2,000 dined on a meal by celebrity chefs Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck while musicians like Lenny Kravitz, Cee Lo Green and Kelly Rowland serenaded the birthday boy with a champagne toast.

Bash raises money for brain research
Cindy Crawford
Supermodel and design mogul shared her memories — and a few laughs — for Ali's birthday.
Bash raises money for brain research
David Beckham
The soccer icon commented on Ali's contributions to boxing.
Bash raises money for brain research
Evander Holyfield
The fellow boxer feted Ali and joined LL Cool J for his party performance.

Oh, and there was an auction that featured priceless gifts like the boxing gloves Ali wore to defeat Floyd Patterson in Las Vegas back in 1965 and a vacation on David Copperfield's private island — yes, island — in the Bahamas.

Keep Memory Alive's mission is something near and dear to the champ's heart — he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in 1984. Over the years, "The Greatest" boxer has lost many of his motor functions and is now confined to a wheelchair.

Bash raises money for brain research
Kelly Rowland
The ex-Destiny's Child singer stunned in gold during her performance for Ali.
Bash raises money for brain research
Lenny Kravitz
The Hunger Games actor and singer performed for the sold-out crowd.
Bash raises money for brain research
LL Cool J
The rapper performed his classic, "Mama Said Knock You Out," complete with boxing gear.

He doesn't blame his career, though.

"If that were so, then a million people must have gotten hit in the head! Joe Frazier got hit more than me — and he doesn't have Parkinson's," he told Oprah in 2001. "Sonny Liston got hit hard, but he doesn't have it."

Bash raises money for brain research
Snoop Dogg
Tha Boss led the crowd in an "Ali!" chant during a performance of his song, "Who Am I (What's My Name)?"
Bash raises money for brain research
Stevie Wonder
The musical legend jetted across the country from Whitney Houston's memorial to sing "Happy Birthday" for Ali.
Bash raises money for brain research
Sugar Ray Leonard and Anthony Hopkins
Boxing vet Leonard caught up with the Oscar-winning actor at the Ali bash.

Regardless of how he got Parkinson's, Ali has dedicated his life to the disease by raising money for research with fundraisers and his institute in Arizona. Still, he keeps a level-head about his disease — something fans wouldn't have expected during his "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" prime.

"I can't see what God's plan is," he told Oprah. "I just know I've got to live with it."

Images courtesy Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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