LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The world knew him as The Greatest, but to his children, he was known as “dad.”
“One message he left for everybody of the world is ‘find the Muhammad Ali within you, live the purpose God made you for before you go back to God,’” said Muhammad Evan Ali Jr.
Ali Jr., Ali's son, is in town with his mother, Khalilah Ali, to lay his father to rest. After a recent announcement that all of Ali's children will have the opportunity to speak at Friday's memorial service, Ali Jr. prepared a few words.
“This is a story about going to bury my father, Muhammad Ali. It's sunny, not gloomy as you can see.
If he was here he would say, 'Even the bees love me. I must be the greatest,’” read Ali Jr.
Khalilah Ali is in Louisville with her four children and grandchildren. She was married to Ali for ten years, from 1967 to 1977. Although the two divorced, she said they will always be family.
“There are so many memories of Muhammad Ali and Belinda, and Muhammad Ali and Khalilah, but all I have to say, it was a roller coaster ride and the journey was enormous,” said Khalilah.
Khalilah and her son are at peace with the passing of their loved one. They said the energy and compassion from his hometown eases the pain.
“I feel his essence in this city from the airport to here, I feel Muhammad Ali is still with us,” said Khalilah.
They reminisce, laughing about times they shared with The Champ while also honoring his life and legacy.
“He's now at peace and he's not suffering, and that makes me feel much better,” said Khalilah.
Ali Jr. said he takes comfort in his faith and poetry.
“You see Allah is with me, right next to float like a butterfly sting like a bee,” Ali Jr. read.