The life of “The Greatest” was celebrated today at the KFC Yum! Center in front of an audience of over 15,000 fans, including famous faces such as Will Smith, Mike Tyson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, former president Bill Clinton, and UK’s own John Calipari.
Fans lined the street as early as 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday night to receive tickets to the funeral service, though tickets weren’t scheduled to be released to the public till 10:00 a.m. the following day.
After opening the ticket office nearly two hours early, tickets were sold out to the general public by 9:30, leaving thousands of fans still wrapped around the streets of downtown Louisville empty handed.
The funeral procession began at roughly 9:00 a.m. today, carrying Ali’s body through the streets of Louisville for fans unable to attend the event at the Yum! Center to give their final goodbyes. Thousands lined the streets chanting “Ali! Ali! Ali!” as the hearse slowly passed each landmark throughout the city, specifically at Ali’s childhood home. The body was laid to rest in a private ceremony at Cave Hill Cemetery.
Doors opened at 11:30 a.m., with the event beginning at 3:00 p.m. Numerous guest speakers shared their times and memories with the legend, both solemn and light-hearted, provoking tears and laughter throughout the audience.
The event captured moments of Ali’s legacy, some of his most memorable fights, along with his significant impact on the world outside of the ring.
Ali’s daughter, Hana, shared this moment on Twitter.
– Hana Ali (@Hanayali) June 10, 2016
Muhammad’s wife, Lonnie Ali, shared one final message with the audience during the event.
From wherever you are watching, know that we have been humbled by your heartfelt expressions of love. Muhammad never stopped loving Louisville, and we know that Louisville loves Muhammad. America must never forget that when a cop & an inner city kid talk to each other, then miracles can happen. He would not be intimidated so as to abandon his principles and his values. Adversity can make you stronger. It cannot rob you of the power to dream & to reach your dreams. He was the greatest of all time.
Rest in peace, Muhammad Ali.