BIRMINGHAM, Ala (Reuters) - The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a major leader in the civil rights movement who was beaten, bombed and injured by fire hoses, died in Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday at age 89.

Shuttlesworth passed away at the Princeton Baptist Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Jennifer Dodd told Reuters.

Martin Luther King Jr. once described Shuttlesworth as "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South."

In an interview at age 85, Shuttlesworth said he had expected to die by age 40 for his efforts to combat segregation in Birmingham.

He had vowed "to kill segregation or be killed by it."

(Reporting by Verna Gates; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)

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