Smokin' Joe Frazier, the legendary boxing heavyweight who holds the honor of having defeated Muhammad Ali for the first time ever back in 1971, died at the age of 67 after a brief battle with liver cancer.

"We the family of … Smokin' Joe Frazier, regret to inform you of his passing," his family said in a statement. "He transitioned from this life as 'One of God's Men,' on the eve of November 7, 2011 at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania."

Ali, 69, who was a bitter rival of Frazier's both in, and sometimes out of, the ring had only kind sentiments for his old adversary. "The world has lost a great champion. I will always remember Joe with respect and admiration," Ali said. "My sympathy goes out to his family and loved ones."

Former heavyweight champion George Foreman, 62, also weighed in on the death of his longtime friend. "Good night Joe Frazier. I love you dear friend," he posted on Twitter. Boxing promoter Don King, 80, who had represented some of Frazier's most historical fights, was too upset by the boxer's death to release a comment, according to a spokesperson, reports The Huffington Post.

Frazier had one of the most impressive careers in the history of heavyweight boxing. His many victories include an Olympic gold medal that he earned in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

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