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‘Extra’ Touching Tributes: Stars Remember Muhammad Ali

‘Extra’ Touching Tributes: Stars Remember Muhammad Ali

Many around the world are gathering in Louisville, Kentucky, to remember the life and legacy of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, including some of Hollywood’s big names, who spoke to “Extra."

"Today’s” Matt Lauer told “Extra” while he was covering Ali’s funeral, “He was my boyhood idol… To be able to have the chance to interview and meet him so many times and become friendly with him and Lonnie, it means the world to me and to my kids now; it’s a generational thing.”

Regarding the actual service, Lauer shared, “You’ve got 300 dignitaries and 15,000 people who waited to get tickets to the memorial today. It’s a really fitting tribute.”

Friend and fellow boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who is also in Louisville, remarked, “I never thought there would be a day that I would say good-bye to Muhammad Ali… I never took the chance to tell him how much he meant to me and what he represented to me. That’s why I’m here.”

Another boxing champion, Evander Holyfield, reflected about the legend, “My aspiration was being a great fighter like him, but it wasn't about fighting with him… his bigger picture was how much he loved people and how much he wanted people to come together.”

Last night, Jennifer Lopez took a moment to remember Ali at an NBC event for her show “Shades of Blue” in Los Angeles, saying, “For me, he was one of those people that made you feel like you wanted to be the greatest you could be. His drive, his passion, his charisma… He just inspired you. He inspired the world.”

Earlier in the week, Morgan Freeman spoke about Ali’s larger-than-life personality at the premiere of “Now You See Me 2" in NYC, saying, “He was a giant in our eyes for his strength of character…”

Tony Bennett added, at the SeriousFunChildren’s Network Gala, “He was just the most wonderful person, you know?”

“Extra’s” AJ Calloway also spoke with “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts and Dwayne Wade about Ali, and they shared the same sentiments. Robin said, “He taught all of us no matter the color of our skin, no matter our gender… to stand up for yourself.” Wade added, “We lost a great one, but you know what he left us with? He did what you come on this earth to do… leave the world a better place.”

Naomi Campbell said, “He stood up for what he believed in and he never stood down.”