"The people's champion" will be honored with a memorial open to all.
The late Muhammad Ali will be celebrated during a public tribute held in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., family spokesman Bob Gunnell announced Monday. The service scheduled for Friday will be open for anyone to attend at the KFC Center in Louisville and will also stream live online.
"Ali exhibited inclusiveness his entire life and that's the tone they wanted to set," Gunnell explained. "We want this to be inclusive of everyone,"
In honor of the devoted Muslim, the ceremony will commence with chants and recitations from the Quran while representatives from the Catholic, Buddhist, Mormon and Jewish faiths are scheduled to attend.
The star boxer will be eulogized by his wife, Lonnie Ali, followed by his oldest daughter Maryum Ali. Lifelong friend John Ramsey, actor Billy Crystal, sportscaster Bryant Gumbel and former president Bill Clinton will also offer remarks. Despite reports, Gunnell confirmed that the Dalai Lama would not be attending, though he was invited.
"Our teacher, our healer. He was the fighter who wouldn't fight," Crystal wrote in USA Today of his longtime friend and mentor. "He is a good man."
On Thursday, there will also be a noon funeral prayer service at Freedom Hall open to all as an obligation to the Muslim community.
"Ali belonged to so many communities and people. Certainly the Muslim community feels they have a special relationship with Ali," Gunnell said. "I think this service is critically important to the global Muslim community."
The spokesman added that a private viewing will be held for Ali's family, including daughter Laila Ali, who is at ease knowing her father is no longer battling an incurable disease.
"I personally have been sad for a long time. My father has been struggling with Parkinson's disease for many years and it wasn't easy to watch him suffer, so knowing that he's not suffering anymore is what gives me comfort," she said during an interview on Today.
"I think that the whole world is sad—anybody who ever loved him and so many people do, so I don't feel alone," she continued. "It's not just our family, it's the world."
Fortunately, everyone who loved the fallen legend will have the opportunity to celebrate his life on a global stage.
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