Muhammad Ali’s funeral procession took place this morning about an hour and a half behind schedule, but that didn’t stop many from paying their respects to the late boxing legend.
Many of the people of Louisville, Kentucky, stood in 90-degree heat to say good-bye to “the Greatest.” Before the procession, Will Smith and Mike Tyson, both pallbearers, were spotted arriving at the funeral home.
Once the procession was underway, Ali’s hearse was seen traveling a 19-mile route that included important places in his life, including the Muhammad Ali Center, Central High School, Beecher Playground, his childhood home and neighborhood, and his museum. While his hearse traveled through the neighborhood, people were heard chanting Ali’s name. Watch the livestream here.
The final stop of the procession will be Cave Hill Cemetery, where Ali will be buried.
Later in the day, family and friends gathered for a large-scale memorial service at the KFC Yum! Center.
His widow Lonnie Ali and children were in attendance, as well as President Clinton, Billy Crystal, Will Smith, Bryant Gumbel and Mike Tyson.
Following a series of spiritual leaders, Lonnie took the stage, in a wide-brimmed hat that covered her face.
She told the crowd, “Muhammad wants people to see life as proof that adversity can make you stronger. It cannot rob you of your power to dream and reach your dreams.”
Lonnie later added, “He was sure-footed in his self-awareness, secure in his faith and he did not fear death."
Two of his daughters spoke at the service. Mariam shared a poem about her father, while Rasheda addressed her father, saying, "You have inspired us and the world to be the best version of ourselves,” adding, “Fly, butterfly, fly.”
Crystal, who is known for impersonating Ali, remembered his longtime friend.
“This outpouring of love and respect, 35 years after he stopped fighting proves he is still the champion of the world,” he said, noting that “time stopped” when he heard his friend had died.
He described Ali as a "tremendous bolt of lightning... a fantastic combination of power and beauty."
Gumbel remembered the Olympic gold medalist, saying, “He gripped our hearts and our souls and our conscious and made our fights his fights for decades.”
President Clinton closed out the service saying, “I think he decided very young to write his own life story. I think he decided before he could possibly have worked it all out, before fate and time could work their will on him, he decided he would not be ever disempowered. He decided not his race nor his place nor the expectations of others… would strip from him his power to write his own story.”