LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Muhammad Ali traveled the world as a fighter and humanitarian, but he always came home to Louisville.
His Kentucky hometown was where Ali, as a gangly teenager, began to develop his boxing skills – the dazzling footwork and rapid-fire punching prowess. The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion never forgot his roots, returning to his old West End neighborhood and visiting high school classmates even after becoming one of the world’s most recognizable men.
Now the focus shifts back to Ali’s hometown as the world says goodbye to the man who emerged from humble beginnings to rub elbows with heads of state.
Ali, slowed for years by Parkinson’s disease, died Friday at age 74.
His funeral is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Louisville.
Celebrities and political figures from around the country are remembering the icon.
“The true GOAT (Greatest of All Time). What a sad day for everyone to (lose) someone so great and kind and someone who really stood up for what they believed in. He was my hero. He always will be. #muhammadali #cassiusclay” – tennis great Serena Williams on Instagram.
“I gave Ali the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 and wondered aloud how he stayed so pretty throughout so many fights. It probably had to do with his beautiful soul. He was a fierce fighter and he’s a man of peace, just like Odessa and Cassius Clay, Sr., believed their son could be.” – former President George W. Bush.
“Ali, the G-O-A-T. A giant, an inspiration, a man of peace, a warrior for the cure. Thank you.” – tweet by actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease.