Will Smith, Lennox Lewis to help carry Muhammad Ali’s coffin

Politicians, royals and celebrities to attend funeral amidst tight security

Ali's funeral will be held in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday
Ali's funeral will be held in Louisville, Kentucky on Friday

Actor Will Smith and British boxer Lennox Lewis will carry Muhammad Ali's coffin at his funeral on Friday.

The Hollywood star, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Ali in the 2001 film of the same name, will be among eight pallbearers at the boxing legend's funeral. 

Also carrying the coffin alongside Smith and Britain's former world heavyweight champion, Lennox, will be Ali's cousins John Grady and Jan Wadell, nephew Ibn Ali, former brother-in-law Komawi Ali and family friend John Ramsey.

Thousands are expected to turn out for the public memorial in Ali's hometown of Louisville, Kentucky later this week.

The president of Turkey and the king of Jordan will be among speakers, while former US president Bill Clinton will deliver a eulogy, according to organisers.

Ali’s widow, Lonnie Ali, daughter Maryum Ali and comedian Billy Crystal will also address the service for the three-time world heavyweight champion, who died last Friday aged 74.

Will Smith was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the boxer in the 2001 film 'Ali'
Will Smith was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the boxer in the 2001 film 'Ali'
Former British boxing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis
Former British boxing heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis

The guest list is likely to mean security will be extra tight for the star-studded memorial.

On the morning of the funeral, the casket will be paraded through the streets of Louisville, so fans from around the world can say goodbye.

California imam Zaid Shakir will preside over the ceremony, in line with Muslim tradition.

Representatives of multiple faiths have been invited.

Ali will then be buried at a cemetery in Louisville.

The official cause of Ali's death was septic shock due to unspecified natural causes, though his health problems were complicated by a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

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