Watch the full memorial service for Muhammad Ali held on June 10 in Louisville, Kentucky.
Three-time heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday in a service he planned himself.
Spokesman Bob Gunnell told reporters that Ali wanted the service to be “inclusive of everyone.” Not only would ticketed members of the public attend the funeral, held at a 22,000-seat stadium, but speakers would represent all ages, faiths and levels of celebrity.
Former President Bill Clinton, comedian Billy Crystal and journalist Bryant Gumbel provided eulogies. Pallbearers included former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and actor Will Smith, who played the boxing legend in the 2001 movie “Ali”.
The funeral service lasted more than three hours. An American flag and one with the Olympic insignia draped the stage.
In a move befitting “The Greatest,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer made sure people knew ahead of time that the day was all about Ali.
“This is one thing we’re telling these dignitaries: ‘This is for Ali. And if you want to come and be secondary to that, come to our city. But if you want to come and be treated like you’re somebody special, the only person that’s special this week is Muhammed Ali,” he said.
President Barack Obama did not attend the service because it conflicted with his daughter Malia’s high school graduation. He spoke with Ali’s wife, Lonnie, on the phone and sent a statement with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
The program also included an Islamic prayer service, called a Jenazah, held Thursday. A funeral motorcade Friday morning passed by Ali’s boyhood home before his body was laid to rest in a private ceremony with his family.
Ali died June 3 at age 74 of septic shock after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease.