Naturalization

Ali became world citizen but never forgot his hometown roots

  • Boxing gloves and a message sit among flowers at a makeshift memorial to Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Boxing gloves and a message sit among flowers at a makeshift memorial to Muhammad Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74. (AP Photo/David Goldman)  (The Associated Press)

  • Andrew Hale, right, holds his daughter Chloe, 3, both of Louisville, as he explains to her who Muhammad Ali was as they visit a makeshift memorial to him at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. "He was strong, courageous, and I hope I can be like that one day and just show love to my daughter like he showed his. That's what I was explaining to her," said Hale. "She asked me where he is and I said he was in heaven." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Andrew Hale, right, holds his daughter Chloe, 3, both of Louisville, as he explains to her who Muhammad Ali was as they visit a makeshift memorial to him at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. "He was strong, courageous, and I hope I can be like that one day and just show love to my daughter like he showed his. That's what I was explaining to her," said Hale. "She asked me where he is and I said he was in heaven." (AP Photo/David Goldman)  (The Associated Press)

  • Visitors watch the sunset along a promenade as members of the public gather at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died Friday at age 74. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

    Visitors watch the sunset along a promenade as members of the public gather at the Muhammad Ali Center, Saturday, June 4, 2016, in Louisville, Ky. Ali died Friday at age 74. (AP Photo/David Goldman)  (The Associated Press)

Muhammad Ali traveled the world as a fighter and humanitarian, but he always came home to Louisville.

His Kentucky hometown was where Ali, as a gangly teenager, began to develop his boxing skills — the dazzling footwork and rapid-fire punching prowess. The three-time world heavyweight boxing champion never forgot his roots, returning to his old West End neighborhood and visiting high school classmates even after becoming one of the world's most recognizable men.

Now the focus shifts back to Ali's hometown as the world says goodbye to the man who emerged from humble beginnings to rub elbows with heads of state.

Ali, slowed for years by Parkinson's disease, died Friday at age 74.

His funeral is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Louisville.