The life of late legendary boxer Muhammad Ali will be celebrated with a public funeral procession and memorial service next week in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky, a family spokesman said Saturday. Mr Ali, the three-time world heavyweight champion and colorful civil rights activist whose fame transcended the world of sports and made him an iconic figure of the 20th century, died Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The dazzling fighter – whose words, often delivered in catchy rhymes, were as devastating as his punches – had been admitted to an Arizona hospital earlier in the week.From political leaders to sports figures to Hollywood’s A-list, the world paused to remember “The Greatest,” whose remarkable career spanned three decades, and whose battle with illness later in life moved his fans.
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After a private family funeral on Thursday, Mr Ali’s coffin will move through the streets of Louisville on Friday, June 10, before a public memorial service at an arena, with former president Bill Clinton among those expected to offer eulogies.The procession has been organized to “allow anyone that is there from the world to say goodbye,” family spokesman Bob Gunnell told reporters in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Louisville lowered flags to half-staff in his honor, as fans flocked to his modest childhood home, now a museum, to pay their respects and leave flowers.Mr Ali is to be buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in his native Louisville, where he was born in 1942. His body was to brought home in the next two days.