Lennox Lewis And Will Smith To Carry Ali's Coffin

Bill Clinton also involved in public service for 'the world to say goodbye'

It has been confirmed that a large funeral event open to the public will take place this Friday in Muhammed Ali's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky where former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and actor Will Smith - who was nominated for his portrayal of the boxer in Ali - will help to carry the sporting legend's coffin.

The procession will "allow anyone that is there from the world to say goodbye", says his family, adding that "he was a citizen of the world and would want people from all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral."

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A private family service will be held on Thursday to allow those closest to him to mourn his passing before the public ceremony. 

A eulogy will be delivered by ex-president Bill Clinton, also rumoured to be speaking are sport journalist Bryant Gumbel and comedian Billy Crystal. His body will be taken through the streets of Louisville, past an avenue named in his honour and a Broadway where he celebrated his 1960 gold Olympic medal.

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Other pallbearers will be his forming sparring partner and heavyweight champion Jerry Ellis, and his cousins, nephew, brother-in-law and family friend. The event is expected to draw huge crowds and will be attended by world leaders and iconic figures as well as being live streamed online. 

The three-time world heavyweight champion died from "septic shock due to unspecified natural causes." The 74 year old fighter had been suffering from a respiratory illness that had arisen by Parkinson's disease.