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Muhammad Ali’s Funeral-To Have Worldwide Audience Of Billions

The public service for Muhammed Ali, one of the most celebrated figures of the 20th century whose death brought accolades from around the world, will feature eulogies by former President Bill Clinton, broadcaster Bryant Gumbel and comedian Billy Crystal.

Ali’s hometown of Louisville will honour the former boxing champion on Friday with a procession through the Kentucky city and public funeral at a sports arena, a tribute befitting a local hero who achieved global stature as a humanitarian

The ceremony will be led by an imam in the Muslim tradition but include representatives of other faiths. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch will represent Mormons.

Muhammad Ali was clearly the people’s champion, and the celebration will reflect his devotion to people of all races, religions and backgrounds.”

The spokesman said Ali died in Arizona at 9:10 p.m. Friday local time of “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes,” three decades after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

It is not clear what specifically caused the septic shock. However, difficulty swallowing is among complications of Parkinson’s disease and it can worsen at the end of life. It makes eating and drinking difficult and patients are at risk for aspirating food or liquids into their lungs, leading to pneumonia and a chest infection that in weakened patients can lead to sepsis – a bloodstream infection that can in turn cause organ failure and death.

Ali was mourned around the globe Saturday, and in his hometown, not even pouring rain could stop the tributes for “The Greatest.”

According to Daily Mirror, a worldwide audience of “billions” are expected to watched in what is being described as one of the biggest events in television history.

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The body  is expected to be returned within the next two days to Louisville, where flags are lowered at city hall in his honor.

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(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley). Members of the Louisville Metro Police Color Guard lower the flags to half staff in remembrance of the passing of Muhammad Ali at the Louisville Metro City Hall, Saturday, June 4, 2016 in Louisville Ky.

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(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley). With the Louisville Metro Police Color Guard standing at attention, Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher addresses a gathering of supporters and mourners of Muhammad Ali from the steps of the Louisville Metro City Hall.

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(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley). A member of the Louissville Metro Police Color Guard stands at attention as the flags at the Louisville Metro City Hall are lowered to half staff in remembrance of Muhammad Ali, Saturday, June 4, 2016 in Louisville Ky.

Fans gathered on Saturday at his modest childhood home on Grand Avenue, which has been converted to a museum, and at the Muhammad Ali Center, a cultural and educational venue, to pay their respects.The service, being held on Friday in the boxing legend’s home town is set to be one of the biggest events in TV history

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Friday’s events is expected to begin with a private prayer service for family members at a Louisville funeral home. The procession will then proceed along the city’s main streets, including Muhammad Ali Boulevard, to Cave Hill Cemetery, passing locations that were significant to the former champion.

The funeral service is scheduled for 2pm (6pm UK time) at the KFC Yum Center, which seats more than 20,000 people, and will be live-streamed at the center’s website.

Ali was admitted on Monday to a Phoenix-area hospital and died Friday night of septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, sources say.

In his prime Ali spoke out against racism, war and religious intolerance, while projecting a brash confidence and sense of pride that became a model for African-Americans during 1960’s and 1970’s.

Brief History on Mohammed Ali:

Muhammad Ali was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., January 17, 1942 – June 3, 2016) was an American professional boxer. From early in his career, Ali was known as an inspiring, controversial and polarizing figure both inside and outside the boxing ring.

He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and he began training when he was 12 years old. At 22, he won the world heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in an upset in 1964. Shortly after that, Clay converted to Islam, changed his “slave” name to Ali, and gave a message of racial pride for African Americans and resistance to white domination.

In 1966, two years after winning the heavyweight title, Ali further antagonized the white establishment by refusing to be conscripted into the U.S. military, citing his religious beliefs and opposition to American involvement in the Vietnam War. He was eventually arrested and found guilty of draft evasion charges and stripped of his boxing titles, which he successfully appealed in the U.S. Supreme Court where, in 1971, his conviction was overturned. Due to this hiatus, he had not fought again for nearly four years—losing a time of peak performance as an athlete. Ali’s actions as a conscientious objector to the war made him an icon for the larger counterculture generation.

Ali remains the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion; he won the title in 1964, 1974, and 1978. Between February 25, 1964, and September 19, 1964, Ali reigned as the heavyweight boxing champion. Nicknamed “The Greatest”, he was involved in several historic boxing matches.Notable among these were the first Liston fight, three with rival Joe Frazier, and “The Rumble in the Jungle” with George Foreman, in which he regained titles he had been stripped of seven years earlier.

Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences are with the Ali’s family and friends at this time. He will forever be remembered as “The Greatest.” May his gentle soul rest in the bosom of the Lord!!!

Photo Credit

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Mohammed Ali


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