LOUISVILLE • All of the roughly 15,000 tickets for today's public memorial service in Louisville honouring boxing legend Muhammad Ali, the city's most famous son, have been distributed, organisers said on Wednesday.
Hundreds of people formed long lines early in the day for a chance at a seat in the KFC Yum! Centre, a large sports arena, for today's interfaith ceremony.
Mr Ali, whose remarkable boxing career and civil rights activism made him one of the indelible figures of the 20th century, died last week at age 74 after a decades-long battle with Parkinson's disease.
Louisville, the largest city in the southern state of Kentucky and home to 600,000 people, is host to the mass public celebration of Mr Ali's life. The ceremonies have three key moments: an Islamic prayer service open to all yesterday, a long public funeral procession through the city today and the public memorial service.
"This is part of our history and I feel like Muhammad Ali has an awesome legacy," said 23- year-old waitress Andeja Tyler, who stood in line waiting for tickets. "I just want to be part of it."
Ten ticket booths were set up to distribute four free tickets per person. In just one hour, all of them had been handed out.
"Muhammad Ali memorial tix are SOLD OUT. Looking forward to remembering #TheGreatest! Service will also be streamed on our outdoor jumbotron," the KFC Yum! Centre said on its Twitter account.
Mr Ali's family warned against potential ticket scalpers. "Anyone selling or buying tickets online will be reported to law enforcement," said Ali family spokesman Bob Gunnell.