Louisville airport to be renamed after Muhammad Ali

By Danielle Garrand

/ CBS News

The Louisville International Airport is changing its name to honor the three-time heavyweight boxing champion and activist Muhammad Ali. The late icon was born in the city.

The Louisville Regional Airport Authority Board voted Wednesday to change the name to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport, according to a press release.

The vote comes just one day before what would have been the hometown hero's 77th birthday. He died in the summer of 2016 at 74.

"Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer according to the release.

Muhammad Ali 1942-2016 48 photos

The vote took place following a recommendation from a board working group that studied the renaming for over a year.

Ali's widow Lonnie Ali called the champion a "global citizen," according to the release, but added "he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy."

While the airport's name will change, its current three-letter International Air Transport Association (IATA) code — SDF — won't change.

Louisville residents tell their Muhammad Ali stories

First published on January 16, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Muhammad Ali 1942-2016

Louisville airport to be renamed after Muhammad Ali

Vote comes a day before what would've been the hometown hero's 77th birthday

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