Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been silenced, sources have told The 

Ironically, the 72-year-old champ – who at the peak of his career was never at a loss for words – has lost the ability to speak as a result of his decades-long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

“His health has been declining rapidly this past year,” a pal 

Another friend who recently visited the onetime “Mouth That Roared” was shocked at his condition.

“His lips quivered, but no words came out,” said the friend. “It was like he had been struck dumb.

“At times his lips would twitch as he stared straight ahead. At times his head went limp and just hung there. It was all so, so sad.”

According to another friend, Muhammad’s face appeared paralyzed during their 15-minute visit. “His eyes were fixed on me, but kind of unfocused.

“I saw fear in them for the first time. He was truly shattered, a shell, not able to utter a sound. I got the sense his face was 

His last public appearance was Sept. 27, but he looked frail and was barely able to whisper a word.

Ali recently paid a surprise visit to a woman from Louisville, Ky., 37-year-old Jill Conley, who’s battling incurable breast cancer. But, according to published reports, he didn’t speak or walk during their hour-long visit. Ali family spokesperson Robert Gunnell denied Muhammad can’t speak and explained: “He often communicates with family and friends.

“His speaking style is softer. He continues to speak by his courage, his love and his faith – and he does so with great clarity to those who are 

But the source added: “Just like he did in the boxing ring, if he’s going down, he’s going down