Muhammad Ali will have a home town funeral in Louisville


The funeral of boxing legend Muhammad Ali will take place in his home town of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, where flags have been flying at half-mast since his death was announced.

The three-time world heavyweight champion died in Phoenix, Arizona on Friday at 9.10pm local time after being admitted to hospital with a respiratory condition on Monday.

Boxing gloves and a message sit among flowers at a makeshift memorial to Muhammad Ali in Louisville (DG/AP)

His spokesman Bob Gunnell said Ali died surrounded by his family for the last hour of his life.

One of his daughters, Hana Ali, wrote on Instagram that his heart would not stop beating for 30 minutes after all his other organs failed and that she'd "never seen anything like it".

Gunnell said a procession on Friday would take the boxer "through the streets of Louisville to allow anyone who's there from the world to say goodbye".

His body will pass the Muhammad Ali Centre, travel along Muhammad Ali Boulevard and through his former neighbourhood. The procession will end at Cave Hill cemetery for a private family ceremony.

An interfaith memorial service will be held at the KFC Yum! Centre in Louisville at 2pm on Friday. Eulogies will be led by former US president Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal and American sportscaster Bryant Gumbel. The service will also be shown online.

Reading a statement from Ali's family, Mr Gunnell said: "Muhammad Ali was truly the people's champion and the celebration will reflect his devotion to all races, religions, and backgrounds.

"Muhammad's extraordinary boxing career only encompassed half of his life. The other half was committed to sharing a message of people and inclusion with the world."

Ali had suffered from Parkinson's for three decades and the extent of his illness was brought to the world stage when he trembled badly while lighting the Olympic torch in 1996 in Atlanta.

He looked increasingly frail at his last public appearances, including on April 9 when he wore sunglasses and was hunched over at the annual Celebrity Fight Night dinner in Phoenix, which raises funds for Parkinson's treatment.

Doctors say the Parkinson's was probably caused by the thousands of punches Ali took during a career which saw him win 56 of his 61 bouts.