The Greatest's gravesite: Ali family invites all to see, enjoy it

Thursday the family of Muhammad Ali invited the public to come see his final resting place at Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Thursday the family of Muhammad Ali invited the public to come see his final resting place at Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)
(Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The finishing touches are now complete on one of the most famous gravesites in the world, that of "The Greatest."

Thursday the family of Muhammad Ali invited the public to come see his newly-completed final resting place at Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery.

"He would be very happy," said Ali's brother, Rahman, who was among several family and friends at the gravesite Thursday morning. "He was a very sweet, wonderful person and an angel. He was just wonderful."

The gravesite is in a quiet corner of Cave Hill, a tranquil place with benches to sit and just be with Ali, as his family believes "The Champ" would have wanted it.

While Lonnie Ali presided over the finishing touches, Ali's brother was among the first visitors to see the completed gravesite.

"It's a very high tribute to do this for my brother," Rahman Ali said. "He's in heaven now and (he was) such a good person in life, I think he deserves it."

The monument and the stone benches came from Africa with the inscriptions done in the United States. Muldoon Memorials took care of the final installation and Aesthetics Landscaping and Design helped design the memorial. Ali is buried under a stone ledger, with room for other family members alongside it.

MORE FROM WAVE3.COM
Local teens train to save lives of fellow students

Mayor: 265-member Snow Team ready for winter weather
+ Starbucks debuts new green cups, receives backlash immediately 

Childhood friend Victor Bender was among those there Thursday. Bender and Ali were born just three days apart.

"That was my boy, we had lots of fun together, we had lots of fun," Bender said as he looked over the memorial.

Ali's final resting place took his buddy's breath away.

"This is really something, this is really something," Bender said. "They've done a great job."

Many visitors found the spot to take photos and take in the moment.

"It brings back all these beautiful memories," said a visitor named Peter, an Ali fan from Poland.

Peter said his grandfather boxed with Cassius Clay at the Olympics. The international visitor was attending a conference in Bloomington, Ind. and said there was no question he had to make the trip to Louisville to visit Ali.

"I'm quite impressed where Ali is buried. This is such a peaceful place," he said.

Muhammad Ali Center CEO and President Donald Lassere agreed, calling it "perfect."

"It really represents what Muhammad wanted," Lassere said. "He wanted to always be known that he was from Louisville, Kentucky and that's why he wanted the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville and chose to have his final resting place here at this beautiful cemetery, Cave Hill."

The Muhammad Ali Center hopes to put together an exhibit of all the mementos that people have left at the gravesite, possibly around the time of what would have been Ali's 75th birthday in January.

Through a family spokesperson, Ali's wife, Lonnie, said there will always be flowers at the site that Ali picked out in 2008.

"I wanted the gravesite to reflect things that Muhammad would have liked, not only as his final resting place, but a place that was welcoming to the many fans he continues to have around the world," Lonnie Ali said in a statement. "There will always be flowers at the site because Muhammad loved color, he loved flowers. He loved people and he would have wanted this to be a place where people would visit, so I placed two granite benches beside his grave to allow visitors and family members to rest and reflect. Our family is very pleased with the results and welcome visitors to visit and enjoy the tranquility of this place."

Copyright 2016 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.