Thousands gather for funeral of Muhammad Ali


Louisville: Thousands of people gathered to pay tribute to legendary boxing legend Muhammad Ali in this home town Louisville, Kentucky. Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 last Friday.

Ali's private burial ceremony on Friday at Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery was followed by a memorial, attended by world leaders including former US president Bill Clinton and former heavyweight champions Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

As the interfaith service got under way, the crowd of up to 15,000 burst into applause and chanted, "Ali! Ali!" when a Muslim religious leader welcomed the audience to "the home of the people's champ". 

Actor Will Smith, who played the three-time heavyweight world champion in the 2001 film "Ali", helped carry the coffin, along with former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and family members.

City officials estimated 100,000 people came out to honor Ali, many traveling from across the country and across the world. Some tossed flowers atop the hearse carrying his casket as part of an 18-car procession over 23 miles (37 km) in a memorial unlike any other in recent US history.