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Cassius Clay


Thousands of fans are attending a farewell procession for Muhammad Ali in his home city of Louisville, Kentucky.

Onlookers lining the roadside waved, took photos and chanted “Ali, Ali” as a cortege led by the hearse carrying his coffin drove through the downtown area.

The boxing legend and rights activist died on June 3 at the age of 74.

The cortege is taking Muhammad Ali’s body past key sites in his life, ahead of an interfaith memorial service.

Will Smith and ex-boxer Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers, while former President Bill Clinton will deliver one of the eulogies.

Thousands of free tickets for the memorial service, taking place at a major sports centre, were snapped up within half an hour.

The motorcade procession began at about 10:35 local time, more than an hour behind schedule, and is taking the coffin past his childhood home, the Ali Center, the Center for African American Heritage and then down Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Fans threw flowers at the hearse and rose petals were scattered along the route.Muhammad Ali funeral

The procession, expected to take about 90 minutes, will end at the Cave Hill Cemetery where Muhammad Ali will be laid to rest in a private ceremony.

The funeral service at the KFC Yum! Center is due to begin at 14:00 local time.

Billy Crystal will also deliver a eulogy, while sports journalist Bryant Gumbel, the daughter of civil rights activist Malcolm X, Attallah Shabazz, and Muhammad Ali’s wife, Lonnie, and daughters, Maryum and Rasheda, are also expected to speak.

Among those expected to attend the service is King Abdullah of Jordan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended June 9 prayer ceremony and had been due at the service, but reports say he has cut short his visit to the US.

The reasons for his departure are not clear, though there are reports of differences with the funeral’s organizers.

President Barack Obama will not be there, as he is to attend his eldest daughter Malia’s graduation.

In a video message, Barack Obama said: “This week we lost an icon. A person who for African Americans, I think, liberated their minds in recognizing that they could be proud of who they were.”


Muhammad Ali’s family and fans are attending a Muslim prayer service to honor the boxing legend in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

The two-day funeral was planned by Muhammad Ali in the years before his death, according to a family spokesman.

Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest”, wanted the Muslim prayer service, known as a Jenazah, to be “a teaching moment”, according to Imam Zaid Shakir, who is leading the service.

The legendary boxer died on June 3 at the age of 74.

More than 14,000 people have tickets to the event at the site of Muhammad Ali’s last fight in Louisville in 1961.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

American Muslims attending the service and watching on TV say they hope that the public prayers will help Americans to become more familiar with Islam and its practices.

In 1964, Muhammad Ali famously converted to Islam, changing his name from Cassius Clay, which he called his “slave name”.

He first joined the Nation of Islam, a controversial black separatist movement, before later converting to mainstream Islam.

Muhammad Ali traveled the world as a boxer and speaker, and inspired Muslims around the world.

The funeral will continue on June 10 with an interfaith memorial service and procession through Louisville passing key locations such as Muhammad Ali’s childhood home, and a museum dedicated to him.

Tickets to attend the June 10 service sold out only an hour after they went on sale.

World leaders and celebrities will attend, including former President Bill Clinton and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Barack Obama will not be able to attend due to his eldest daughter’s graduation on the same day.


Muhammad Ali died of “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes”, his family has announced.

The boxing legend, formerly known as Cassius Clay, died on June 3 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He was 74.

Muhammad Ali had been suffering from a respiratory illness, a condition that was complicated by Parkinson’s disease.

A public funeral will be held for the boxer on June 9 in his hometown of Louisville in Kentucky.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

The family spokesman, Bob Gunnell said: “He was a citizen of the world and would want people from all walks of life to be able to attend his funeral.”

Former President Bill Clinton is among those who will give a eulogy at the service, and was one of many prominent global figures who paid tribute to Ali on June 4, saying he lived a life “full of religious and political convictions that led him to make tough choices and live with the consequences”.

The legendary Brazilian footballer, Pele, said the sporting universe had suffered a huge loss.

President Barack Obama said: “Muhammad Ali shook up the world. And the world is better for it.”

Soon after retiring, rumors began to circulate about the state of Muhammad Ali’s health. His speech had become slurred, he shuffled and he was often drowsy.

Parkinson’s syndrome was eventually diagnosed but Muhammad Ali continued to make public appearances, receiving warm welcomes wherever he traveled.


Muhammad Ali has criticized Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering America.

Without naming Donald Trump, the 73-year-old boxing legend said that Muslims “have to stand up to those who use Islam to advance their own personal agenda”.

The three-time world heavyweight champion is a cultural icon and one of the world’s most famous Muslims.

Donald Trump says he will never leave the race, despite widespread criticism.

The White House had said that the Republican presidential hopeful’s comments about Muslims “disqualified” him from running for the presidency.

Muhammad Ali’s statement was directed at “presidential candidates proposing to ban Muslim immigration to the United States”.

“They have alienated many from learning about Islam,” he said.

Muhammad Ali also strongly criticized violence committed by jihadists from ISIS.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

“True Muslims know that the ruthless violence of so called Islamic Jihadists goes against the very tenets of our religion,” he said.

“These misguided murderers have perverted people’s views on what Islam really is.”

Meanwhile, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg also expressed solidarity with Muslims.

In a Facebook post on December 9, Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “After the Paris attacks and hate this week, I can only imagine the fear Muslims feel that they will be persecuted for the actions of others.

“As a Jew, my parents taught me that we must stand up against attacks on all communities. If you’re a Muslim in this community, as the leader of Facebook I want you to know that you are always welcome here and that we will fight to protect your rights.”

In his statement, Muhammad Ali said there was there was “nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world”.

The former boxer was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984, after quitting the sport. Born by the name of Cassius Clay, he converted to Islam and changed his name in 1964.

Muhammad Ali’s statement comes after President Barack Obama’s TV address to the nation on December 6, in which he called on Americans to turn away from discrimination.

“Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes,” President Barack Obama said.

Donald Trump reacted to Barack Obama’s statement saying: “Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who?”

The New York billionaire has met Muhammad Ali several times, and even received an award named after the former heavyweight champion in 2007.

Donald Trump’s comments about Muslims came after the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, California.

He called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”.

A Muslim couple, believed to have been radicalized, killed 14 people at a health centre and left scores injured.

Donald Trump is the current frontrunner among the Republicans running for president, six weeks before the primary contests begin for each party to pick their nominee.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier.

A spokesman for Muhammad Ali said he was only hospitalized for treatment of dehydration and that “early reports were blown out of proportion”.

Muhammad Ali, 69, was last seen in public at a Philadelphia service for his fellow boxing legend on November 14, but a woman called 911 for him five days later.

The 911 call came from the 6,000 sq ft estate Muhammad Ali shares with wife Yolanda in Paradise Valley, Arizona, reported Star magazine and RadarOnline.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been taken to hospital after falling unconscious at home just days after his frail appearance at a funeral for Joe Frazier

The boxing legend has suffered from Parkinson’s disease for 27 years and was taken to Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

A Paradise Valley Police spokesman told Star:

“The victim started to pass out in the car and when they got him into the house he fell unconscious.”

“The 911 tape was filled with details of prescriptions and medical details about the victim who was suffering from an on-going medical condition.”

Spokesman Craig Bankey said in statement Muhammad Ali was resting at his home and recovering from the hospital stay.

Muhammad Ali spent the Thanksgiving weekend across the other side of the U.S. in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his family, reported Star.

A source close to former boxer told Star he has had various medical specialists in Phoenix so the family must have “really been scared” to have called 911.

Fears were raised about Muhammad Ali’s health after he appeared very frail at Joe Frazier’s two-hour service at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, last month.

According to RadarOnline, friends fear that Muhammad Ali may not live long into next year.

Reverend Jesse Jackson asked mourners to rise and clap for the former heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, who handed Muhammad Ali his first loss in 1971.

A weak and trembling Muhammad Ali, wearing a dark suit and sunglasses, rose from his seat at the service and energetically applauded his rival “Smokin’ Joe”.

Muhammad Ali’s relatives and friends have told Star he may only have months left to live, but still enjoys spending time with his grandchildren.

However, Jeanie Kahnke, a spokeswoman for the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, says she spoke with his wife, Lonnie, by phone Friday morning and that “he was right next to her asking for breakfast and that he was doing good”.

Widely-seen as the best sportsman of all time, Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr. in Louisville, Kentucky, and won an Olympic gold in 1960.

Muhammad Ali married his fourth wife and childhood friend Yolanda in 1986 and they have had one son, Asaad. In total, Muhammad Ali has seven daughters and two sons.