1672666343 Brazilians say final goodbye to Pele with 24 hour vigil and

Brazilians say final goodbye to Pelé with 24-hour vigil and coffin procession


The Brazilians will pay their respects to the great footballer Pelé with a 24-hour public vigil that begins Monday at the Urbano Caldeira stadium, home of his former football club Santos.

Then on Tuesday, a funeral procession will carry Pelé’s coffin through the streets of the city of Santos, including the street where Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, lives.

The procession will continue to Pelé’s final resting place, the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica Cemetery, where a private funeral will be held for family members.

Fireworks greeted the hearse carrying Pelé’s coffin as he exited the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, where the three-time world champion died on Thursday of multiple organ failure resulting from the progression of colon cancer.

The hearse was on its way to the stadium, under a heavy police escort, where his coffin will be placed in the center of the pitch.

Fans had already started lining the streets in the early hours of Monday morning, many holding flags or banners with messages for “O Rei” (“The King”). “Pelé, you are eternal,” read one on the side of the road.

Pelé's coffin is placed in the center of the pitch at Santos Stadium.

In the 16,000-seat Santos stadium, a number of large banners had been put up in the stands with one reading ‘Long Live the King’.

The name Pelé has been associated with football for more than 60 years. He has competed in four World Cups and is the only player in history to have won three, but his legacy extends far beyond his trophies and notable goalscoring.

“I was born to play football just like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint,” Pelé famously said.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in history and Brazil held a three-day national mourning after his death.

Sports stars, politicians and musicians from around the world paid tribute to a man who went beyond his sport to become a global icon.