By late afternoon on Friday, Lonnie, most of Ali's nine children and some of his adult grandchildren surrounded his hospital bed, whispering over the sound of the medical machines.
"It was solemn," Rasheda Ali says. "We felt he did hear us, but he was not really responding. There were moments the kids would go in and out of the room," giving each other private time with their father.
Ali's longtime doctor said his final goodbye just after 8 p.m. and was replaced by an imam, who led the family in a continuous Islamic prayer as the heart monitor recorded the final blips.
"We were chanting very low, as his heart just kept beating," says daughter Hana Ali. "The best part of him was the last to go. Every now and then we'd look up and the nurse would let us know he was still with us. Finally there was a flat line. We turned all the machines off so we didn't hear the sounds. We all cried and kissed him one by one and walked out of the room. It was hard. But there was a sense of relief that he had passed in such a beautiful way. He looked peaceful."
Ali's time of death has been reported as 9:10 local time in Phoenix. Lonnie, two of Ali's children and family friends accompanied the casket by private jet to Louisville on Sunday afternoon, where a small motorcade with a police escort ferried Ali's body to a downtown funeral home.
"People on the street started to see the hearse, and of course it could only be one person," said Ramsey, who was in the motorcade. "It was very moving to see. They came to the roadside, and people were removing their hats."