Muhammad Ali’s funeral is set for Friday in Louisville, Kentucky, the hometown of the three-time heavyweight boxing champion. The ceremony will be open to the public, and thousands of fans will be given the chance to pay their respects to one of the most popular athletes of all time.
There will be a public procession at 9 a.m. ET, carrying Ali’s coffin through the streets of Louisville before a memorial service at the KFC Yum! Center. More than 15,000 tickets will be distributed for the service, which will start at 2 p.m. EDT. Details regarding the tickets will become available at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.
"He was a citizen of the world and would want people from all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral," said Bob Gunnell, the family's spokesman.
The service at KFC Yum! Center will include ministers from several religions. California Muslim imam Zaid Shakir will lead the service, and there will be representatives from the Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish and Buddhist faiths on hand to speak. Eulogies will be given by the likes of Billy Crystal and Bill Clinton.
"It's only fitting that the people have the opportunity to send him off with a very robust commemoration, so we thank the family for that," Shakir said Monday at a news conference.
A private service for Ali’s family is set for Thursday, followed by another private prayer service at a funeral home in Louisville on Friday, before the public services. Louisville’s Freedom Hall will host an Islamic funeral prayer program on Thursday at noon, for which 18,000 tickets will be made available.
Thursday’s Jenazah prayer service will be held at Freedom Hall because it is the site of Ali’s last fight in Louisville. He defeated Willi Besmanoff at the venue in 1961, improving his career record to 10-0 at the time.
Ali was pronounced dead in an Arizona hospital at 9:10 p.m. Friday local time (12:10 a.m. Saturday EDT) from septic shock due to unspecified natural causes. He was 74 years old.