Thousands of mourners lined the streets of Louisville in Kentucky, where the future heavyweight champion of the world grew up. His coffin, draped in an Islamic shroud, was loaded into a hearse by a group of pallbearers – including former boxers Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and actor Will Smith.

Muhammad Ali funeral
The coffin bearing the remains of Muhammad Ali is loaded into a hearse at the A D Porter & Sons funeral home in LouisvilleAdrees Latif/Reuters
Muhammad Ali funeral
Muhammad Ali's funeral cortege leaves the A D Porter & Sons funeral home in LouisvilleAdrees Latif/Reuters

Ali's nine children, his current wife, two of his ex-wives and other family members joined a 17-car motorcade on a 19-mile route that was expected to take Ali's body past his boyhood home, the gym where he first learned to box and the museum that bears his name, by way of Muhammad Ali Boulevard.

Fans tossed flowers at the hearse and scattered rose petals along its path. Some chanted, "Ali!" Others were quiet and reverent as the champ went by. People gathered early in the day outside Ali's boyhood home, which was decorated with balloons, flags, flowers and posters. Fans took photos of themselves in front of the small pink house with white trimmings. Some people staked out their places nearby with garden furniture.

Muhammad Ali funeral
Brandon Liggons, 2, holds an image of Muhammad Ali during the funeral procession for the three-time heavyweight boxing championLucy Nicholson/Reuters
Muhammad Ali funeral
A pair of boxing gloves hang from a historical marker in front of Muhammad Ali's childhood home on Grand Avenue, LouisvilleTy Wright/Getty Images
Muhammad Ali funeral
Thirteen-year-old Malik Parker shadow boxes outside Muhammad Ali's former homeJim Watson/AFP
Muhammad Ali funeral
A woman photographs a mural depicting Muhammad Ali's 1965 victory over Sonny Liston, on a building in LouisvilleBrendan Smialowski/AFP
Muhammad Ali funeral
Billy Roarx and Bobby Green wait for the hearse to drive down Muhammad Ali Boulevard to Cave Hill Cemetery in LouisvilleJohn Sommers II/Reuters
Muhammad Ali funeral
Jola, a music artiste, tries on an Ali t-shirt near the childhood home of the late boxing championAdrees Latif/Reuters
Muhammad Ali funeral
A girl looks at a memorial outside the childhood home of the late boxing championLucy Nicholson/Reuters
Muhammad Ali funeral
Mourners gather in front of Muhammad Ali's childhood home on Grand AvenueTy Wright/Getty Images
Muhammad Ali funeral
Jerry Martin walks his horse, Rekoa, wearing an 'Ali' robe, outside the boxing legend's former homeJim Watson/AFP
Muhammad Ali funeral
A man walks down the street outside Ali's childhood home in Louisville, carrying a huge painting of the boxing legendJim Watson/AFP
Muhammad Ali funeral
A sign wishing Muhammad Ali well is seen along the fuenral procession route in LouisvilleBrendan Smialowski/AFP
Muhammad Ali funeral
A man watches a slide show of Muhammad Ali photos displayed on a screen outside the KFC Yum! Centre in Louisville, venue of a memorial service for the boxing legendBrendan Smialowski/AFP

Ali will be laid to be rest in a private graveside ceremony at Cave Hill Cemetery. The boxing legend chose the cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, as his final resting place a decade ago. Its 130,000 graves represent a who's who of Kentucky, including Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders. The burial will be followed by a grand memorial service at the KFC Yum! Center, to be attended by more than 15,000 guests, including former President Bill Clinton.