Will Smith to be a pallbearer at Muhammad Ali’s funeral

Smith played Ali in 2001 biopic ‘Ali’

Will Smith has been named among the pallbearers at Muhammad Ali’s funeral, which takes place in Kentucky on Friday (June 10).

Smith played Ali in the 2001 biopic ‘Ali’, having been given the blessing of the boxer himself to take on the role.

The other seven pallbearers include fellow heavyweight champion boxer Lennox Lewis, the brother of Ali’s former sparring partner Jimmy Ellis, Ali’s friend John Ramsey plus four members of Ali’s family.

Ali will be buried in private in his hometown Louisville, followed by a public memorial service at 2pm at KFC Yum! Center, for which 15,000 tickets will be available. The memorial will also be streamed live online.

The boxer died aged 74 on June 3 of septic shock, following a long battle against Parkinson’s Disease.

Smith posted photos of himself with Ali on Facebook on Saturday, accompanied by the message: “You shook up the world! My mentor and friend, you changed my life. Rest in peace.”

In a speech in 2015, Smith recalled playing Ali. He said: “For nearly two years, I worked to transform myself into the man who changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and shook up the world. And that’s really what makes my job so beautiful as an actor – for four, five months at a time I get to wear peoples’ lives. So I got to wear Muhammad Ali’s greatness. I got to study and feel and embody the soul of the man, from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith in his life, to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path.”