Bill Clinton to Deliver Eulogy, Will Smith & Lennox Lewis to Be Pallbearers at Muhammad Ali's Funeral

Actor Will Smith and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers for Muhammad Ali's funeral on Friday.

Will Smith, who played Muhammad Ali in his 2001 biopic, became a personal friend of the boxer during the course of the film.

They will be joining a list of notable athletes, entertainers and politicians to mourn the boxing legend.

According to a spokesperson of Muhammad Ali's family, the other pallbearers will include Jerry Ellis, brother of former world heavyweight champion Jimmy Ellis, John Grady (Ali's cousin), Ibn Ali (his nephew), Komawi Ali (former brother-in-law), Jan Wadell (also cousin) and family friend John Ramsey,

Hailed as the greatest boxer of all time and applauded for his work out of his field, Ali, who suffered from Parkinson's disease for many years, had planned his funeral with his family for a decade. He did not want the event to be for the great, but for everyone.

Louisvill, Kentucky, hometown to the boxer, will come to a standstill for the funeral.

'It's been a really bittersweet time for our city,' says Mayor of Louisvill, Greg Fischer. 'We've all been dreading the passing of The Champ, but at the same time we knew ultimately it would come. It was selfish for us to think that we could hold on to him forever. Our job now, as a city, is to send him off with the class and dignity and respect that he deserves.'

Former US President Bill Clinton, who was a personal friend of Ali as well as comedian Billy Crystal, are to attend the event, where they will also deliver eulogies.

An Islamic service will be led by Imam Zaid Shakir of California.

Already, fans of Muhammad Ali have had memorials for him. Around 300 fans gathered outside Ali's childhood home on Monday, with a memorial led by Islamic leaders, a dance group and the mayor himself.

'People might not like it, but if you stand up for what you believe in, then you won't be a pushover,' says Dwight Richardson, who brought seven kids he works with so they could learn about Ali's message.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.