Muhammad Ali was more than just a Boxer, Residents in Louisville Say
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (CBSNEWS) Few places were mourning the death of Muhammad Alimore than Louisville, the legendary boxer's childhood hometown.
With boxing gloves in hand, 7-year-old Kahari Adams was one of the first to arrive at the Muhammad Ali Center on Saturday to pay his respects. His mother, Tiffany, explained what Ali's life meant to the community.
"You know, he's kind of near and dear to my heart as far as the plight of people of color and what he stood for," Adams told CBS News.
A memorial continued to grow despite the rain. Everyone seemed to have a story about how Ali's Louisville Lip changed history.
"He decided to stand on his own. When he decided not to go with the draft. When he decided to become a legend for this city, this state -- he just went for it," Louisville resident Paula Yarbrough said.
The condolences and remembrances from around the world poured in on social media.
Actor and Parkinson's activist Michael J. Fox tweeted, "Ali, the G-O-A-T [Greatest of All Time]. A giant, an inspiration, a man of peace, a warrior for the cure. Thank you."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Ali a "source of inspiration who demonstrated the power of human spirit & determination."
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson tweeted, "God came for his champion. So long Great One."
Ringo Starr tweeted, "God bless Muhammad Ali. Peace and love to all his family."
From Muhammad Ali Boulevard to the home where he grew up, Louisville is the only place in the country that offers a full look into the champ's life in and out of the ring.
"The last time I saw Muhammad -- I've told this story a couple of times -- he was here at the center, and as Muhammad normally does, he welcomes people to come and talk to him," Donald Lassere, who runs the Muhammad Ali Center, a museum and educational center, told CBS News.
"And there was this young man who was battling leukemia, and when he saw Muhammad, you can see his spirits were uplifted," Lassere continued. "And he spent about 15 or so minutes with Muhammad, and the last thing he said was, 'I'm going to continue fighting, just like you did, Champ. I'm going to continue fighting, and I'm going to beat this disease.'"
At a ceremony Saturday morning, flags were lowered to half-staff.
"What the champ would want us to do right now is to spread that same message, follow his example and live by the same six core principles that he lived by: confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect and spirituality," Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Ali's ultimate goal was to encourage people to help others. He will unite people once again on Friday.
His funeral procession will travel through all neighborhoods in Louisville -- black, white, rich or poor -- something Ali would have loved.