The actor, who portrayed the late boxing legend in the 2001 Oscar-nominated film Ali, is set to be a pallbearer, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The three-time heavyweight champion died at the age of 74 on June 4 at 9:10 p.m. MST, days after being treated for respiratory complications at a Phoenix-area hospital. The cause of death was “septic shock due to unspecified natural causes,” family spokesperson Bob Gunnell confirmed on Saturday.
Ali’s casket arrived in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, on Sunday ahead of the June 10 funeral and public memorial service, which will be held at KFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. local time and open to the public. Fans will also be able to stream the service online.
Smith, 47, paid tribute to Ali in a Facebook post on Saturday writing, “You shook up the World! My Mentor & My Friend. You changed my Life. Rest in Peace.”
And in 2015, Smith spoke fondly of his “very unique connection” to the sports hero. “For nearly two years, I worked to transform myself into the man who changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali and shook up the world,” he said about on Ali’s work and career during a speech at Sports Illustrated‘s 2015 Sportsperson of Year ceremony.
“And that’s really what makes my job so beautiful as an actor – for four, five months at a time I get to wear peoples’ lives. So I got to wear Muhammad Ali’s greatness. I got to study and feel and embody the soul of the man, from the foundations of Islam and the strength of his Muslim faith in his life, to the beautiful wake that he always leaves in his magnificent path,” Smith continued.