Muhammad Ali’s funeral set for Friday … Will Smith, Lennox Lewis among pallbearers
Muhammad Ali will be laid to rest on Friday, a week after the legendary boxer died at the age of 74.
Among those carrying his casket for his funeral will be actor Will Smith and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, Ali’s family announced on Monday.
Smith received an Academy Award nomination for portraying Ali in the 2001 biopic. Like Ali, Lewis was a heavyweight champion as a pro after winning Olympic gold.
The other six pallbearers for Ali’s funeral in his hometown of Louisville will be John Grady, Ali’s cousin; Ibn Ali, Ali’s nephew; Komawi Ali, Ali’s former brother-in-law; Jerry Ellis, brother of Jimmy Ellis, who was Ali’s former sparring partner and also a former heavyweight champion; Jan Wadell, Ali’s first cousin; and John Ramsey, Ali’s family friend.
Friday’s memorial service will be held at the KFC Yum! Center and will be open to the public.
The service will follow a procession through the city and Ali will be buried with a private funeral service following the public memorial.
Ali’s widow, Lonnie, his daughter, Maryum Ali; journalist Bryant Gumbel; actor Billy Crystal; and former U.S. president Bill Clinton are among those who will give eulogies for the transcendent boxer.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and King Abdullah II of Jordan had been scheduled to speak, but Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell said on Monday two other speakers will be added to the program instead.
Gunnell also said that a Jenazah, the traditional Muslim funeral service, will be held at Freedom Hall on Thursday, and will be open to the public.