Will Smith Remembers Muhammad Ali, Public Memorial Set for Friday
Since the passing of legendary boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, tributes have been pouring in from dignitaries, celebrities and athletes. Actor Will Smith, who played the late boxer in a 2001 biopic, wrote a heartfelt tribute to Ali on his Facebook page.
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.
"You shook up the World! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace," he wrote.
Meanwhile, funeral services and a public memorial have been set for Muhammad Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Ky. A private funeral service - strictly for family members and friends only - will be held on Thursday (June 9).
On Friday (June 10), a public memorial service will take place at the KFC Center in Louisville and will also stream live online. Everyone is invited to attend that ceremony.
According to a family spokesman, Bob Gunnell (via E! News), Ali will be eulogized by his wife, Lonnie Ali, followed by his oldest daughter Maryum Ali. In addition, invited guests including lifelong friend John Ramsey, former President Bill Clinton, actor Billy Crystal, veteran TV journalist Bryant Gumbel and many others, will speak at the event.
Finally, Laila Ali appeared on CBS Morning News on Monday (June 6) to talk about her father's enduring legacy.
"Obviously I'm sad, I'm going to miss my father, but I've been sad for a long time because my father's been struggling with Parkinson's for a long time," she said. "So I'm happy knowing that he's no longer struggling, and that's what gives me comfort."
"My dad was not only the best fighter ever, but also such a great man, and there will never be anyone else like him," she added.