'He's in a better place now and he's talking again and moving again," Laila Ali said of her father

By Char Adams
Updated June 06, 2016 09:15 AM
Credit: Today

Muhammad Ali‘s daughter Laila Ali takes comfort knowing that her father isn’t suffering anymore.

During a Monday appearance on the Today show, the 38-year-old said she had been mentally preparing for years for the death of her ailing father – who struggled with Parkinson’s disease.

“It was time for him to go. I know he’s in a better place now and he’s talking again and moving again and doing all the things that he couldn’t do in his body,” Ali said. “I’m happy for that even though I will miss him deeply.”

The boxing legend died on Friday at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, where he had spent the past few days being treated for respiratory complications, a family spokesperson told PEOPLE. He was 74.

Ali also gave a tribute to her late father on Good Morning America on Monday.

“I can say that I’m obviously really sad, but I’ve been sad for a long time just watching my father struggling with Parkinson’s disease,” she told GMA.

“You know, you hold your head up and you say, ‘Yeah, he’s doing great,’ but I felt like [Muhammad] was trapped inside of his body. So I have comfort knowing that he’s not suffering anymore.”

Following the tragic news of his death, the nation has mourned the passing of the man who called himself “The Greatest.” But Ali told Today that the outpouring of condolences was to be expected.

“The whole world is sad I don’t feel alone. It’s not just our family, it’s the whole world,” she said.

Although her father has passed, Ali said it is her children that will carry on her father’s memory.

“My son is a spitting image of my father when he was young and he has so many of his same similar characteristics and qualities,” Ali said of her 7-year-old son Curtis Muhammad Conway Jr.

“[Muhammad is] definitely going to live on through him. He’s learning more and more as he gets older how special papa actually was.”