Pelé: Brazilians to bid final farewell with wake and coffin procession


The Brazilian will pay a final tribute to football great Pele during a 24-hour public appearance starting Monday at the Urbano Caldeira stadium, home of former football club Santos.

On Tuesday, a funeral procession carries Pele’s coffin through the streets of the city of Santos, including past the street where Pele’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, lives.

The procession continues to Pele’s final resting place, the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica Cemetery, where a private funeral will be held for his family.

Fireworks were greeted by a hearse carrying Pele’s coffin as he left Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo. Pele died Thursday of multiple organ failure from advanced colon cancer.

The hearse drove to the stadium under heavy police escort and his coffin was placed in the middle of the pitch.

Fans began lining the streets early Monday morning, many holding flags and banners with messages. “Olay” (“King”). “Pele, you are forever,” read a side of the highway.

Inside Santos’ 16,000-capacity stadium, many large banners hung across the stands, one reading “Long Live the King.”

For over 60 years, the name Pele has been synonymous with football. He is the only player in history to win the World Cup on his four occasions and win three times, but his legacy goes far beyond trophy wins and an astonishing scoring record.

“Just as Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint, I was born to play football,” Pele famously said.

Born in Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in history, and his death was followed by a three-day national memorial service in Brazil.

Sports stars, politicians and musicians around the world pay tribute to the man who has become a global icon beyond sports.

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