Former manager of Muhammad Ali; Born 1929; Died August 25, 2008

Jabir Herbert Muhammad, who has died aged 79 following heart surgery, was the longtime manager of Muhammad Ali and the third son of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, the black separatist.

Born in Detroit, he lived most of his life on Chicago's south side and ran a bakery, a dry cleaner and other small businesses for the Nation of Islam before taking on his biggest project of all, Ali.

He took over as Ali's business manager in 1966, a couple of years after the boxer formally converted to Islam and replaced the Louisville, Kentucky, syndicate that launched the boxer's career. For the next 25 years, he negotiated fights for Ali, managed his post-fight endeavours and co-ordinated his role as a fundraiser and public face for the Nation of Islam.

While managing Ali, Muhammad secured multi-million-dollar purses for the three-times heavyweight world champion and became the most recognised athlete of his generation. Muhammad could demand almost anything for a fight or appearance, and both he and the controversial Nation of Islam were rewarded with a healthy cut of the action.

"He let Ali be Ali," said Thomas Hauser, author of 1991's acclaimed Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, meaning Muhammad did not try to clean up Ali's sometimes outrageous persona.

"I think he genuinely cared about Ali. But he was also interested in making money for himself," Hauser said.

Muhammad was an adviser to his father until his death in 1975, and was the Nation's business manager. He also oversaw its newspaper, Muhammad Speaks.

Ali's wife, Lonnie, gradually took over her husband's business affairs, and Muhammad and the boxer cut ties in the early 1990s. In 1993, Ali sued Muhammad, alleging that a foundation used the boxer's name improperly, using his signature in fundraising letters and other work intended to promote Islamic causes. The lawsuit was settled the next year when the foundation changed its name.

Muhammad had a successful business career separate from both Ali and his father, who died in 1975, in areas including property and catering.

For many years, his close associate was Tony Rezko, the politically connected fixer and early political patron of Barack Obama who was convicted in June of fraud, bribery and money laundering.

He is survived by his wife, Aminah Antonia; 14 children; a number of siblings; 45 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.