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Muhammad Ali died of septic shock; Louisville funeral set



Septic shock was the cause of Muhammad Ali's death late Friday night, a family spokesman said Saturday.

A public memorial service and funeral procession will be held Friday for Ali in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., where he will be buried.

Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to eulogize Ali, the former three-time heavyweight boxing champion and one of the most iconic sports figures of the 20th century. Actor Billy Crystal and broadcaster Bryant Gumbel also are scheduled to speak.

Ali died at 9:10 p.m. MST Friday in Scottsdale, Ariz. The cause of death was septic shock, the result of an infection that spreads throughout the body and causes vital organs to shut down. It came from from unspecified natural causes, according to family spokesman Bob Gunnell.

Ali, who suffered from Parkinson's disease, was surrounded by family when he died.

“The champ would have been very proud of his family,” Gunnell said.

A private ceremony for Ali's family will be Thursday in Louisville. A funeral procession through the city, the route passing by his boyhood home, will precede the public ceremony at 2 p.m. ET Friday, Gunnell said at a news conference Saturday afternoon.

Ali, who was Muslim, developed the plans for his funeral years ago, Gunnell said. The interfaith memorial service will include clerics from several religions, he said. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a Mormon, is scheduled to speak.

Ali then will be buried in a private ceremony in Louisville.  

Follow Tom Vanden Brook on Twitter: @tvandenbrook


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