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‘World Invited’ To Muhammad Ali Funeral

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A huge procession and funeral will be held for Muhammad Ali on Friday to “allow anyone that is there from the world to say goodbye”, his family says.

The funeral will be in Ali’s home city of Louisville, Kentucky.

Ex-President Bill Clinton will deliver a eulogy.

Comedian Billy Crystal and sports journalist Bryant Gumbel are also expected to speak.

The boxing legend, 74, died on Friday of

“septic shock due to unspecified natural causes”.

A private family service will be held on Thursday.

“He was a citizen of the world and would want people from all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral,”

said the family spokesman, Bob Gunnell.

After the family service on Thursday, Friday’s events will begin with another private prayer service for family members at a Louisville funeral home.

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Ali’s body will then be taken in procession through the main streets of Louisville, including an avenue that bears his name and Broadway, where a procession was held in 1960 to celebrate his Olympic gold medal.

The main service will be at 14:00 local time (18:00 GMT) at the KFC Yum Center, which seats more than 20,000 people.

It will be interfaith but in the Muslim tradition, led by an imam, the family said, in keeping with Ali’s beliefs.

“Muhammad Ali was clearly the people’s champion,”

Mr Gunnell said,

“and the celebration will reflect his devotion to people of all races, religions and backgrounds.”

The event will be live-streamed on the centre’s website.

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Mr Gunnell said the fighter died in Arizona at 21:10 on Friday, and was able to say goodbye to his wife and children, who were present for his final moments.

Tributes have poured in from across the world but also dominated his home city, where flags were at half-mast at city hall and thousands of people visited the Muhammad Ali Center or paid homage at his modest childhood home on Grand Avenue.

Bill Clinton paid tribute to Ali on Saturday, saying he lived a life

“full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences”

.

“Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it,”

said US President Barack Obama.

BBC

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