(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) -- Flags were lowered to half-staff in a solemn ceremony Saturday morning in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, in honor of hometown hero Muhammad Ali, who died Friday in Arizona.
Ali "lived a life so big and bold, it's hard to believe any one man could do everything he did ... in the course of just one lifetime," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told the crowd at this morning's ceremony. "This man, this champion, this Louisvillian, ended his 74 years yesterday as a United Nations messenger of peace, a humanitarian and champion athlete who earned Amnesty International's lifetime achievement award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Sports Illustrated's sportsman of the century."
Ali and his wife also co-founded the Muhammad Ali Center, "which promotes respect, hope and understanding" in Louisville and around the world, Fischer said.
Fischer said Ali "belongs to the world -- but he only has one hometown."
"We heard him in a way no one else could. As our brother, our uncle, and our inspiration," Fischer said. "I am so grateful that I had the chance to know him and see how he leveraged his fame to share his message of love, peace and compassion."
Fischer said flags on government buildings would remain at half-staff until Ali has been laid to rest.
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