UPDATE: 4:54 p.m. EDT —
The body of boxing legend Muhammad Ali arrived in his hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, Sunday ahead of his funeral services, ABC News reported. A private funeral service for family will be held Thursday, with a public memorial Friday.
A procession and funeral for Muhammad Ali will be held Friday allowing the world to bid the boxing legend goodbye, his family said, according to reports Sunday. “The Greatest,” as he was known, passed away Friday evening of septic shock at the age of 74.
The procession has been arranged to “allow anyone that is there from the world to say goodbye,” family spokesman Bob Gunnell said. Ali’s family will accompany his body from Scottsdale, Arizona to Louisville, his hometown in Kentucky. His casket will be taken through the streets of Louisville Friday after a private family service Thursday. Ali’s burial will be at Cave Hill Cemetery, according to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
Former President Bill Clinton, comedian and actor Billy Crystal are expected to give eulogies to the “The Louisville Lip.”
“Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it. We are all better for it. Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family, and we pray that the greatest fighter of them all finally rests in peace,” President Barack Obama said in a statement.
Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion, breathed his last at 9:10 p.m. local time Friday in an Arizona hospital, the family said Saturday.
“All of his organs failed but his heart wouldn’t spot beating. For 30 minutes, his heart just kept beating. [...] A true testament to the strength of his spirit and will!” daughter Hana Ali tweeted.
Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., was hospitalized twice in recent months. Also known as “The People’s Champion,” Ali —who battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years — remained out of public eye in recent years. He was reportedly last seen at a Parkinson’s fundraiser April 9 in Phoenix.
Meanwhile in Louisville, flags were flown half-mast on all public buildings as people mourned Ali's death.
“Muhammad Ali belongs to the world, but he only has one hometown,” Mayor Fischer said. “The Louisville Lip spoke to everyone, but we heard him in a way no one else could — as our brother, our uncle, and our inspiration.”
On Saturday, mourners in Louisville gathered at his childhood home and at the Muhammad Ali Center to pay their respects to their hometown hero. Several people laid bouquet and boxing gloves for Ali.
“I cried. I cried like a baby when I found out the news,” 39-year-old Arnold Mathis, an Ali’s fan who was on his way to lay a wreath and light a candle at the center told BBC. “It’s so surreal. I know he’s dead, but it hasn’t really set in yet.”
Throughout his career, Ali took an estimated 29,000 punches to his head. This, doctors say, was possibly the cause of his Parkinson’s disease.