Final photos of Muhammad Ali show ravages of disease, defiance

The Scottish Sun has published the pictures taken from Muhammad Ali's final photo shoot, and they show a champion brought low by disease but still defiant.

British photographer Zenon Texiera visited Ali just weeks before Ali's death last Friday, and found a man frail but still able to lift his fists one last time, still able to offer up the hint of a knowing smile that helped make Ali a legend for half a century. See more of the photos at the Sun's website here.

Texeira described his shoot with The Champ this way: "His skin glistens and he is meticulously groomed with cool dark sunglasses hiding his eyes. He is helped into an armchair and it’s clear to see how fragile this man has become. However, I am told that even though he may not respond he understands every word. I do what I have to do and 45 minutes later wrap the shoot, over the moon with what I have captured. I hold his hand, thank him, tell him that I’ll pray for him and kiss his forehead as I say goodbye.”

The Sun ran the photo on its cover on Monday:

Here is the editor's reasoning for running the picture:

Ali's funeral will be held on Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.