Friday, 10 June 2016

Thousands Gather in Louisville to Pay Final Respects to Muhammad Ali

Thousands of people gathered today in Louisville, Kentucky, to pay their final respects toMuhammad Ali, chanting the boxing legend's name as a funeral procession drove through his Kentucky hometown. Ali's wife, two of his ex-wives and his nine children participated in the motorcade.

Family, friends and fans mingled under a clear, sunny sky, celebrating both Ali's career as an athlete and his status as a civil rights icon. Flowers and wreaths were laid at the site of his childhood home, and participants described the mood of the affair as warm and jovial, rather than somber.

Ali's cherry-red casket was draped in an Islamic shroud. Will Smith, who portrayed the boxing legend in the movie "Ali," along with former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson and three family members are pallbearers.

Fifteen thousand people are expected to attend an interfaith service that will be held at theKFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. Former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal, Bryant Gumbel, and Ali's wife, Lonnie, will give eulogies. Also expected to speak is Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. The service is open to the public

Poetry will be read by Attallah Shabazz, Malcolm X's eldest daughter, while Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama, will give a statement. Other guests of note include Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

The service will be led by an imam and will include clerics from multiple religions. After the service, a private reception for friends and guests is scheduled at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.

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