A Legend Comes Home: Muhammad Ali's Body Arrives in Louisville Ahead of His Friday Funeral
Muhammad Ali‘s casket arrived in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday ahead of his Friday, June 10, funeral and public memorial service.
Ali, 74, died in a Phoenix-area hospital on Friday, June 3, after being admitted for reparatory issues.
On Saturday, his family spokesperson Bob Gunnell announced plans for Ali’s memorial service, which will be held on Friday at Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. local time and open to the publice. Former President Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal and Bryant Gumbel will give eulogies.
There will also be a procession throughout Louisville and fans will be able to stream the service online.
“Muhammad’s extraordinary boxing career only encompasses half his life. The other half was committed to carrying a message of peace and inclusion to the world. Following his wishes, his funeral will reflect those principals and will be a celebration open to everyone,” spokesman Bob Gunnell said Saturday.
Gunnell confirmed Ali’s death in a statement late Friday night. “After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening,” Gunnell said in an earlier statement. “The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time.”
He died surrounded by his wife and children at 9:10 p.m. MST on Friday. The cause of death was “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes,” Gunnell said Saturday. He will return with his family to Louisville in coming days, Gunnell said.
Ali’s death triggered a massive outpouring of grief and remembrance from family, fans and public figures, including both the Clintons and Obamas. He was celebrated for his athletic prowess, his deep political and religious convictions and – above all – his indomitable spirit.
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As daughter Laila Ali told PEOPLE in March, “That man continues to put me in awe. He’s such a fighter, still, when at times he seems weak and not able to handle it. He comes through stronger than ever.
“He’s still fighting regardless and I love my dad for that.”