Muhammad Ali makes final trip home

Muhammad Ali training for his fight against Oscar Bonavena on December 7, 1970 (AAP)
Muhammad Ali training for his fight against Oscar Bonavena on December 7, 1970 (AAP)

Muhammad Ali has made his final trip home, arriving back in Kentucky today after dying in Arizona on Friday (local time) following a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

After being flown into Louisville, Ali's body was loaded into a hearse to carry the city's favourite and most famous son to a funeral home ahead of his public farewell on Saturday.

His upcoming funeral promises to be the kind of send-off you would expect for someone with the stature of a man known as "The Greatest", with former US president Bill Clinton leading the eulogies.

On Sunday, Ali's brother, Rahman, was at a Louisville Baptist church, where they celebrated Ali's life and mourned their loss.

"He would help anyone that he could. He was a saint. He was a wonderful man," Rahman Ali said.

He's also being remembered for his battle against Parkinson's disease, with fellow sufferer Michael J Fox proud to have shared that ring with Ali.

"To have actually met him and joined with him in a common cause, a common fight, I mean, who else would you want in your corner?" Fox said.

In New York, a permanent memorial is planned at Gleeson's Gym, where Ali once trained. Owner Bruce Silverglade says boxers still come hoping to be the next boxing great.

"He's not only a boxing hero and a boxing champion; he's an American icon. Now kids that come to the gym, they want to train like Ali; they want to have his style.

Last night, Ali was farewelled on the HBO program Boxing After Dark, giving the champ a final 10 count. That was one of countless tributes, including one that almost appears to have been arranged by the natural world.

Thousands of bees have now gathered outside Louisville's Ali centre, right next to the wall that carries his most famous quote: "Floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee."


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