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Muhammad Ali funeral: Will Smith and Lennox Lewis named pallbearers

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Will Smith has been given a prominent role in Muhammad Ali's funeral. The actor, who played Muhammad in the film based on his life, will act as a pallbearer at the service in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday afternoon.

The 47-year-old is one of eight pallbearers including former heavyweight champion of the world Lennox Lewis, and members of Muhammad's family and friends.


Will Smith Muhammad Ali

Will Smith will act as a pallbearer at Muhammad Ali's funeral

The service will take place at the Yum Center, a basketball arena in Louisville that seats more than 20,000 people, on Friday afternoon. Muhammad's close friend Billy Crystal, former US President Bill Clinton and sports reporter Bryant Gumbel will all deliver eulogies at the service, which will also be live streamed on the website for the Muhammad Ali Center.

The service will be interfaith but in the Muslim tradition, led by an imam, in keeping with Muhammad's beliefs. He will be buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.

Will struck up a close bond with Muhammad after portraying the boxer in the 2001 biopic, Ali.

Lennox Lewis Muhammad Ali

Lennox Lewis has also been given a role in Muhammad's funeral service

Following the announcement of Muhammad's death, Will had paid tribute to him on Facebook, describing the boxer as "my mentor & my friend." Sharing two photos of himself with Muhammad, Will wrote: "You shook up the world! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace."

In 2015 Will had honoured the former heavyweight world champion at Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year ceremony, where the Legacy Award was renamed the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award.

"There's no doubt that he was a great boxer. He was the greatest of all time," Will said. "When we think about the legacy of Muhammad Ali, what he did in the ring is not what we think about."

Muhammad passed away on Friday at the age of 74. He died from septic shock due to unspecified natural causes after being admitted to hospital with respiratory issues.

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