Muhammad Ali's wife Lonnie: "I loved that man my entire life"

Muhammad Ali's biggest fan was his wife Lonni... 03:05

As Muhammad Ali's wife, caregiver and protector, friends say Lonnie Ali also has the heart of a champion.

"We're with Muhammad 24/7. I have my sister helping, my nephew helping. And it's really all three of us," she said earlier this year.

The two actually met more than 50 years ago -- a picture shows a six-year-old Lonnie with the 21-year old Ali, the man who would eventually become her husband.

"The only thing that Lonnie has ever said, and I think it is accurate, she said to me 'I loved that man my entire life,'" said family spokesperson and longtime friend Bob Gunnell.

"She literally has loved Muhammad Ali since they met when she was six years old."

In 1986, two years after the three-time heavy weight champion announced he had Parkinson's disease, they got married.

They later adopted a son, Ali's ninth child, Asaad Ali. On Monday, he visited the memorial for the first time since his father's death.

"You can't really put it into words what she has done for him and our family, period. She is the rock. She was there at his lowest brought him back up. She been there for him the whole time," he said.

Muhammad Ali pranks 60 Minutes' Ed Bradley 01:13

The late Ed Bradley spent time with the couple for "60 Minutes."

"He is very aware of his time here on Earth, and he has sort of planned the rest of his life to do things so that he is assured a place in heaven."

"People shouldn't feel sorry for him?" Bradley asked.

"Oh, absolutely not. Absolutely not," Lonnie said.

When the the champ's final round came, he was surrounded by his children and perhaps his most loyal fan -- his wife.