Boxing legend and renown humanitarian Muhammad Ali passed away Friday, June 3 after a long bout with Parkinson’s syndrome and undeniable impact on the world.
With his funeral set for this Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center, BBC has learned that Will Smith will serve as one of the pallbearers for the funeral. The two befriended one another during the filming of the 1999 biopic Ali, where Smith, 47, earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of the man simply known as “The Greatest.”
Upon hearing the news of his death, Smith took to his Facebook to honor Ali writing, “You shook up the World!…My Mentor & My Friend…You changed my Life…Rest in Peace.”
Other pallbearers include Lennox Lewis, the last undisputed world heavyweight champion, Ali’s former sparring partner’s brother, Jerry Ellis, Ali’s cousins John Grady and Jan Wadell, his nephew Ibn Ali, former brother-in-law Komawi Ali and longtime family friend John Ramsey.
Former President Bill Clinton, The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Abdullah of Jordan, Bryant Gumbel and Billy Crystal, among others are scheduled to speak at the funeral, which will be open to the public and expected to attract thousands of mourners.
The three-time heavyweight world champion was admitted to the hospital on June 2, in Scottsdale, Arizona with a respiratory illness. The official cause of death was septic shock.
He will be buried at Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery.