Howard Bingham, a photographer for several different publications including EBONY and JET, who spent much of his career taking images of Muhammad Ali died Thursday after a lengthy illness, according to He was 77.

Bingham was born in Mississippi and had started his career at a Los Angeles newspaper when he met a young Cassius Clay. The two struck up a friendship that lasted more than 40 years and allowed him to take some of the definitive photographs of the champ.

He also took historical photographs of some of the Civil Rights movement and of some of the nation’s major racially-charged social unrest during the 60s. In 1966, he was assigned by Look magazine to photograph the aftermath of Los Angeles’ Watts riots.

“I became the go-to riot photographer,” he said in a biography. Comparing himself to Forrest Gump, he said “I’ve had a way of being in the right place at the right time.”

Bingham’s images also appeared in Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Newsweek and many other publications. He was known for his iconic photos of figures like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, the Black Panthers, and former president Bill Clinton among others.

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