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Muhammad Ali funeral: Thousands gather to pay final respects

hellomagazine.com

Thousands of fans gathered to say their final farewell to Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky on Friday. Crowds lined the streets and chanted "Ali" as a procession led by the hearse carrying his coffin drove past.

The cortege drove through key places in the town, including the Muhammad Ali Center, a cultural institution founded by the former heavyweight world champion.

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Muhammad Ali's memorial took place on Friday

The procession came to an end at the Cave Hill Cemetery, where Muhammad will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.

A memorial service will take place at the KFC Yum! Centre at 2pm local time, with Muhammad's friends, family and fans in attendance. Thousands of free tickets to the memorial service were snapped up within half an hour, as fans travelled from all over the world to pay their last respects to the boxing legend.

Will Smith and Lennox Lewis have been confirmed to act as pallbearers, and former US President Bill Clinton will deliver one of the eulogies, along with Muhammad's close friend Billy Crystal and sports reporter Bryant Gumbel.

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Thousands of fans gathered to say their final farewell to the star

The service will be interfaith but in the Muslim tradition, led by an imam, in keeping with Muhammad's beliefs. It will be broadcast live on the website for the Muhammad Ali Center.

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.

The sporting icon will be remembered as a "loving, kind" person by his brother Rahman, who told Good Morning Britain that Muhammad had never changed despite the level of success he achieved.

"White, black, whatever you were, he would love you, he loved people. He was a boxer, that was his trade, but his heart was loving and kind.

"He would take the shirt off his back to give to you if you needed it, that's how kind he was. I will miss him. I'm a very, very emotional person, I'm about to cry."

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