Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and comedian Billy Crystal were among those previously announced as participating in public events as the world grieves the loss of the boxer, showman and antiwar activist who captivated global attention in the 1960s and 1970s.
Lewis, who reigned as undisputed world heavyweight champion after beating Evander Holyfield in 1999, was on Monday night named as a pallbearer – as was Smith, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Ali in the 2001 film of the same name. He was the greatest of all time.
The day before his star-studded funeral, members of Muhammad Ali’s Islamic faith will get their chance to say a traditional goodbye to the Champ.
Ali, who died at the age of 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, became a mentor to Smith as he channeled Ali for the Michael Mann-directed flick, Ali.
California imam and scholar Zaid Shakir will preside over the service at the KFC Yum! The official cause of death was “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes”, said spokesman Bob Gunnell.
On Friday, Ali’s family will gather for prayers, to be followed by the funeral procession through Louisville.
Meanwhile, funeral services and a public memorial have been set for Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. The route will include a boulevard bearing Ali’s name on the way to the Cave Hill Cemetery. Smith will act as one of the pallbearers at Ali’s memorial service this week in Louisville. The festival will take place in the lobby of the Kentucky Center for the Arts at 501 W. Main Street.