Cleveland boxing promoter Don King attends prayer service for Muhammad Ali in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE - Tens of thousands of people are expected to gather in Louisville on Friday as the world says goodbye to boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Thousands more attended a religious prayer service Thursday, including Cleveland native and boxing promoter Don King.

"When I come into the arena today and walking up and down the streets you know, it's amazing you know because we had so many people there," King told Fox 8’s Kevin Freeman by phone.

He joined 14,000 people for an Islamic prayer service at a large convention hall in "The Champ's" hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

"It was just a tremendous thing and going over the acts of kindness that Muhammad had done during his life and what he called the 'rental apartment,' which is your body, and so he vacated the apartment, but his spirit will never die," King said.

Ali died Friday at age 74 after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease.

Don King recalls the many visits Ali made to Cleveland, including a famous 1975 bout against Chuck Wepner at the Richfield Coliseum. He also remembers Ali's battles outside of the ring, including what's known as the "Ali Summit" held in Cleveland in 1967.

"When Jim Brown and all of them got together, you know, to try to fight the inequities in sports and whatever, Muhammad Ali was there, when we had the Forest City Hospital trauma, Muhammad Ali was there...I come out the penitentiary, the community come to me and I went to Muhammad Ali," said King.

"I would sum it up by saying, he was a man of principles and a great American," said Cleveland Browns football legend Jim Brown.

We caught up with Brown in Berea. He called Muhammad Ali an American hero.

"He stood up for what Americans all stand up for...freedom, equality and justice, he stood up against all odds, he stood up against the government, racism, discrimination," Brown said.

A public memorial service for Ali will be held Friday in Louisville to remember a man considered the greatest boxer of all time, and much more.

"Everybody and anybody is here, and they coming from all walks of life, every race, color, creed and religion,” said King.

Friday morning, there will be a funeral procession through the streets of Louisville, followed by the public memorial at the KFC Yum! Center.

**More on Muhammad Ali here**

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