ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States will attend the funeral of Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer to grace the sport, and will represent the government and people of Pakistan.
Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani will attend the funeral on directions of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Ali’s funeral is slated to be held on Friday, June 10.
Actor Will Smith and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis will be among the pallbearers for Ali’s funeral. 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.
The heavyweight champion whose fast fists and irrepressible personality transcended sports and captivated the world, died on June 4 according to a statement released by his family. He was 74.
Ali was hospitalised this earlier for a respiratory ailment. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease for more than three decades and kept a low profile in recent years.
His last public appearance was in April at the “Celebrity Fight Night” gala in Arizona, a charity that benefits the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center.
He held the heavyweight title a record three times, and Sports Illustrated named him the top sportsman of the 20th century.
Nicknamed “The Greatest”, Ali retired from boxing in 1981 with a record of 56 wins, 37 by knockout, and five losses. Ali’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s came about three years after he left the ring.
Ali, born in Louisville, Kentucky, as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, changed his name in 1964 after his conversion to Islam.