MUHAMMAD Ali's coffin will be carried by Hollywood star Will Smith and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Ali's family members, it has been announced.
A public funeral for the man they called "The Greatest" will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Saturday (AEST), with organisers saying Ali helped plan his own funeral as a "last statement" to the world.
The public Louisville funeral will be preceded the day before by a family funeral and an Islamic prayer service at the Freedom Hall where Ali, then Cassius Clay last fought in Louisville against Willi Besmanoff in 1961.
A close friend of the Ali family, Smith was nominated for a best actor award at the 2002 Oscars for his portrayal of the boxer who died on the weekend aged 74 in the biopic Ali.
Canadian-born British boxer Lewis, 50, who like Ali won an Olympic gold medal before claiming the heavyweight title, is the last 'undisputed' world heavyweight champion.
He told Sky Sports Ali, "was like family, like a father" to him.
Both will join family members as pall bearers as the public pays homage to the man known as the Louisville Lip in his Kentucky birthplace.
Former US president Bill Clinton, comedian Billy Crystal and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are among a number of identities set to speak at the public funeral.
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