I was working on a new marketing campaign when I heard that Muhammad Ali had died. The campaign, which will honour business owners around the world, has the three words “Bold. Strong. Unique.” at its center.

That was Muhammad Ali.

Bold and brash and fierce – almost obnoxiously so – he spoke his mind as he felt, when he felt, and how he felt. He spoke loudly because he had to. Had to, to be heard over those who would pigeon-hole him; had to, to be seen by those who ignored him, ignored his identity, ignored his wishes. Had to, to bring attention to the grave social injustices of his day. And ours.

And he was strong. Not only in the ring where he dominated uncounted opponents in the world’s fiercest, toughest, most brutal sport. But outside the ring, too, where he lived his conscience in the public eye, regardless of the personal, reputational or financial cost.

One of a kind. Beautiful, graceful, coordinated, powerful, intelligent, thoughtful, moral, outspoken, colorful, courageous, flawed, human.

Muhammad Ali. One of my heroes.