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Clinton: Ali was a 'universal soldier of our common humanity'

Bill Clinton paid tribute to Muhammad Ali at his funeral. Credit: RTV

Former US President Bill Clinton has paid a touching tribute to Muhammad Ali at a memorial service held in his honour in his home town of Louisville.

Describing Ali as a "universal soldier of our common humanity", Clinton remembered the boxer as a " truly free man of faith" who never let his fight with Parkinson's dictate his life.

He said: "I will always think of Muhammad as a truly free man of faith.

"He refused to be imprisoned by a disease that kept him hamstrung longer than Nelson Mandela was kept in prison in South Africa."

Ali 'wanted to prove adversity can make you stronger'

Muhammad Ali "wanted young people from every background to see his life as proof that adversity can make you stronger", Lonnie Ali, Muhammad Ali's fourth wife, has said at his memorial service.

Adversity "cannot rob you of the power to dream and to reach your dreams", she added.

She also told mourners that Muhammad Ali "never stopped loving Louisville and Louisville never stopped loving Muhammad".

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Obama: Ali 'more influential than just about anyone'

Muhammad Ali was "bigger, brighter and more original and influential than just about anyone of his era," President Obama said in a tribute read by his Senior Advisor Valarie Jarrett.

Ms Jarrett added that Mr and Mrs Obama were not able to be at the memorial service with "deepest regret", as they are at the graduation of their daughter.

Muhammad Ali was the 'heart' of Louisville

Muhammad Ali was the "heart" of Louisville, Rabbi Joe Rapport has told mourners at a memorial service in the city.

He said Ali was "the living, breathing embodiment of the greatest we can be."

"He was our heart, and that heart beats here still," he added.

Rabbi pays tribute to Ali for stand against Vietnam war

Rabbi Michael Lerner has praised Muhammad Ali for using his fame his stand against the "immoral" Vietnam war.

Speaking at the boxing legend's memorial service in Louisville, he said: "Heavy weight champions of the world come and go. Sports heroes come and go. There was something about Muhammad Ali that was different.

"At the key moment that he had that recognition he used it to stand up to an immoral war and say 'No, I won't go'.

"And it's for that reason that tens of millions of Americans who don't particularly care about boxing do care about Muhammad Ali, because he was a person who was willing to risk a great honour that he got, and a great fame that he got, to stand up for the beliefs that he had, to speak truth to power. He stood up and was willing to take that kind of risk because of that kind of moral integrity."

Protestant minister: Ali 'dared to love black people'

Muhammad Ali "dared to love black people at a time when black people had a problem loving themselves", a Protestant minister has said at a memorial service in Louisville.

Kevin Cosby told mourners: "Muhammad Ali said 'I'm proud, I'm pretty, I'm glad of who I am'. And when he said that, that infused in Africans a sense of somebodiness.

"Our brother, Muhammad Ali, was a product of a difficult time, and he dared to love black people, at a time when black people had a problem loving themselves", he added.

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