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10/06/2012 - Bernie Casey and Howard Bingham - "An Artful Event" at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles October 6, 2012 - California African American Museum - Los Angeles, CA, USA - Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 - False - Photo Credit: Koi Sojer / PR Photos - Contact (1-866-551-7827) - Portrait Face Count: 1

Howard Bingham, biographer and longtime photographer to Muhammad Ali, died Thursday at age 77 after an extended illness.

According to Bingham’s friend and EUR Sports columnist, Mohammed Mubarak, Bingham passed away at the Marina Point Rehabilitation Center in Culver City, California. He was there recovering from dual surgeries. At Cedars Sinai he underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor. He also had his colon removed.

Bingham was the son of a minister and Pullman porter. After initially failing a photography course, he was hired by a local newspaper. While working there, he met the young Cassius Clay (later to become Muhammad Ali). The two had an instant rapport that led to a lifelong friendship.

Bingham went on to arguably curate the definitive book of photographs of Ali, Muhammad Ali: A Thirty-Year Journey.

According to Wikipedia, Bingham was one of the first Black photographers to work on a Hollywood International Cinematographers Guild camera crew. His photographs have been published in magazines and periodicals including: Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, People, Ebony and others. He was selected as a photographer for the 1990 project Songs of My People.

Bingham interviewed James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King, Jr, and photographed the Black Panthers for Life magazine at various points in his career.

In 2015, Bingham’s work was featured in an exhibit called “Light Catchers” at the California African-American Museum along with six other prominent African-American photographers.

Bingham is survived by his wife, Carolyn, and son Dustin. Howard’s other son, Damon, died earlier this year as well.

PHOTO: PR Photos

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