Muhammad Ali’s life will be celebrated with a traditional Islamic prayer service after thousands of tickets were snapped up for the boxing great’s funeral.
Ali’s family have criticised ticket touts for cashing in on the service, which 15,00 people are expected to attend, by selling tickets on to fans. Some tickets have reportedly gone for around £70. Ali’s family have called said they are “disgusted” by the practice, and have asked for people to stop trying to buy tickets. The US authorities have been alerted to the scheme.
Bob Gunnell, spokesman for the Ali family, said: “I’m personally disgusted and amazed that someone would try to profit off of Muhammad Ali’s memorial service. “I hope that those buying tickets or trying to buy tickets would stop those efforts by not purchasing. “Muhammad Ali wanted this to be a free event, an event that was open to all.”
Today, the final service at the KFC Yum! Centre will take place with luminaries such as former US president Bill Clinton, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and comedian Billy Crystal. Actor Will Smith, who portrayed Ali in a 2001 biographical film, and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers.
US President Barack Obama will miss the funeral because he is attending his daughter Malia’s high school graduation ceremony, the White House said.
Mr Obama and his wife Michelle are sending a letter to be read at the service, where White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett – who knew Ali personally – will represent the president.
His casket will be paraded through the streets of Louisville, so fans from around the world can say goodbye to the three-time world heavyweight champion before a private burial at Cave Hill Cemetery.