WLKY: Lonnie Ali opens up about the loss of Muhammad Ali

By Eric King | WLKY News

Lonnie Ali

Lonnie Ali discusses the loss of her husband, Muhammad Ali. | Photo by WLKY

For the first time since the death of Muhammad Ali, an emotional Lonnie Ali opened up about the Louisville community’s overwhelming support for her family and how they’re dealing with the loss.

“You think about the loss to the world, and you magnify that about 10 times and you might come close to what we lost. He was all of that to us, not just to me, but to the kids and his friends and relatives. He was the world. And he leaves behind a large void. Intentionally, he leaves behind a large void. He had that big of a persona,” Lonnie Ali said.

The conversation with Lonnie Ali was the first she’s had with WLKY since her husband died June 3.

“One day this will stop, I’ll stop crying,” she said. “Hopefully.”

From the time of his death, throughout the funeral, Lonnie Ali was the face of strength, but even the strongest know strength has a breaking point.

“I think I was still in a state of shock. There were things that had to be done, things I had to do, so you just step up and when you go home and everyone leaves, you start to realize what’s gone and it sets in, but you move on,” she said.

In the spirit of the champ, moving on comes with humility and gratitude.

Gratitude for the overwhelming outpouring of support for the man known simply as the Greatest.

“It was amazing. I knew it was going to be big, I just didn’t know it was going to be that big,” Lonnie Ali said. “People just wanted to share the air, out on the streets, be with one another, share stories, commune, which was typical Muhammad. I know he loved every second of it.”

Muhammad Ali will be honored posthumously with the “Mayor’s Spirit of Louisville Award” at the 2016 WLKY Bell Awards.

Presented annually by Mayor Fischer and the WLKY Spirit of Louisville Foundation, this award is given to one who personifies the spirit of community service and inspires every citizen to help make Louisville the most compassionate city.

Lonnie Ali will attend the Oct. 21 WLKY Bell Awards celebration and accept the award on his behalf.