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The Obamas won’t be present at Muhammad Ali‘s funeral in Kentucky on Friday, opting instead to attend First Daughter Malia‘s high school graduation at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the White House says.

According to the BBC, the President offered his condolences in a phone call with Ali’s widow, Lonnie. The President and First Lady wrote a letter that will be given to Ali’s family by White House Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett, TIME reports.

The 74-year-old iconic prize-fighter died Friday of septic shock and will be laid to rest in his hometown of Louisville. A public memorial service will be held at the KFC Yum! Center. NBC News reports that Ali meticulously planned and signed off on every detail of his funeral in a ledger called, “The Book.”

Ali’s death rang out across the world as fans and admirers championed his athleticism, character, and contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.

Dignitaries such as the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and King Abdullah of Jordan will attend the service. Former President Bill Clinton will eulogize Ali. Actor Will Smith and former boxer Lennox Lewis will serve as pallbearers, along with a host of family and friends, The Daily Beast writes.



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Why The President & First Lady Will Miss Muhammad Ali’s Funeral  was originally published on