Louisville visitors will soon fly "like a butterfly."
The city celebrated what would have been the 77th birthday of its hometown hero Wednesday by voting to rename the Louisville International Airport after Muhammad Ali.
Officials approved the alteration to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport but confirmed the SDF code will not change during a Louisville Regional Airport Authority Board meeting.
A petition to rename the airport was first drafted by Mayor Greg Fischer and the airport board after Ali's death in 2016.
"Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville," Fischer said. "Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the Earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people.
"It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ's legacy. And the airport renaming is a wonderful next step."
Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown. Today’s decision to change @flylouisville’s name to Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport is a major piece of a broader effort to celebrate those deep ties. pic.twitter.com/mxXyX4pILl— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) January 16, 2019
Ali's widow, Lonnie, applauded the name change that she said will "reflect Muhammad's impact on the city and his love for his hometown" in Kentucky.
"I am happy that visitors from far and wide who travel to Louisville will have another touch point to Muhammad and be reminded of his open and inclusive nature, which is reflective of our city," she said in a news release, via the Louisville Courier-Journal. "Muhammad was a global citizen, but he never forgot the city that gave him his start. It is a fitting testament to his legacy."
Ali died June 3, 2016, in Scottsdale, Ariz., from septic shock. The renowned boxer and humanitarian long considered "the Greatest" was 74.