Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, the former ringside doctor and cornerman for legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, is dead at the age of 89, his daughter announced Thursday on Facebook.
"It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce to the world the passing of my wonderful Dad, Ferdie Pacheco," Tina Louise Pacheco posted. "He was a pharmacist, a doctor, a boxing commentator, a painter and a writer. But to me he was just Papa. It's a heartbreak to lose a parent, but I know he'll always be with me."
Pacheco, who was nicknamed the "Fight Doctor" after being by Ali's side for over 15 years, was also a popular boxing analyst once he retired from medicine. He began his career as a physician in South Florida, and in 1960 began treating the boxers at Miami Beach's historic 5th St. Gym, where Ali trained. Pacheco treated the boxers free of charge, and never would have imagined at the time he'd get to witness some of boxing's most iconic moments after meeting Ali for the first time.
As Ali's personal physician, Pacheco saw firsthand the physical toll some of the beatings took on the greatest boxer of all time. He left Ali's side in 1977 once he thought Ali should retire due to health concerns.
Ali died in February 2016 after suffering with Parkinson's Disease, largely caused by the repetitive blows to the head he took during his long boxing career. Pacheco and Ali last saw each other in 2002.
Pacheco pursued a career in the arts in his later years, becoming a prolific painter and established writer, who authored more than 20 books.