Muhammad Ali's daughter makes his death a little less painful for fans

Jun 6, 2016 at 1:31 p.m. ET
Image: FayesVision/

For some, Muhammad Ali's death was less of a surprise and more of a blessing.

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During an appearance on Good Morning America, Ali's daughter Laila Ali explained why her father's death was for the best in her eyes.

"It was time for him to go. I know he's in a better place now and he's talking again and moving again and doing all the things that he couldn't do in his body," Laila said, adding that she had been mentally preparing for Ali's death for years. "I'm happy for that even though I will miss him deeply."

Ali struggled with Parkinson's disease, and his health had been declining steadily for years, Laila said. He died Friday at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was being treated for respiratory complications. Reports say he died peacefully with his family gathered around him. He was 74.

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"I can say that I'm obviously really sad, but I've been sad for a long time just watching my father struggling with Parkinson's disease," Laila said during her appearance on Good Morning America's Monday episode. "You know, you hold your head up and you say, 'Yeah, he's doing great,' but I felt like [Muhammad] was trapped inside of his body. So I have comfort knowing that he's not suffering anymore.

"The whole world is sad… I don't feel alone. It's not just our family, it's the whole world," she added.

And Laila is finding solace in her son, who she says will carry on her father's legacy.

"My son is a spitting image of my father when he was young and he has so many of his same similar characteristics and qualities," she said of Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr. "[Muhammad is] definitely going to live on through him. He's learning more and more as he gets older how special Papa actually was."

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