Muhammad Ali’s family slammed scalpers who are trying to make a profit by selling the free tickets to the boxing great’s memorial service, which will take place in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday, June 10.
Before his death, the three-time world heavyweight champion requested that his funeral service be free and open to the public. The family released 15,000 free tickets on Wednesday, June 8, and they were all claimed within an hour, the Associated Press reports.
Many fans arrived hours before the box office opened and the line stretched for blocks, so hundreds left empty-handed. Not long after, scalpers began listing tickets on Craigslist.
“It’s deplorable that some people are trying to profit off of the solemn service as we celebrate the life of Muhammad Ali,” family spokesman Bob Gunnell told the AP, adding that it’s a “despicable act.” He also cautioned that officials are monitoring the online posts — ticket scalping in Kentucky is illegal and punishable with a fine of up to $250.
“Muhammad is directing all of this, and he’s enjoying every minute of it,” Gunnell said. “Muhammad Ali wanted this to be a free event, an event that was open to all.”
Ali, who was regarded by many as the greatest athlete of all time, passed away on Friday, June 3, from septic shock. He was 74. Prior to his death, he was hospitalized for a respiratory issue, and he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1984 at age 42.
The funeral service will include several eulogies from friends and family, including former president Bill Clinton and actor Billy Crystal. Will Smith, who played the boxer in the 2001 biopic Ali, will serve as one of the pallbearers.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!