Brazilians said goodbye to Pelé for the last time with a 24-hour wake and a procession of his coffin. On Tuesday, a funeral procession will transport Pelé’s casket through the streets of Santos. The parade will pass down the road where Pelé’s mother, Celeste Arantes, resides at one hundred years old.
The funeral procession will next go to the Memorial Necropole Ecumênica cemetery, where a private service will be performed for Pelé’s immediate family members.
Pelé, a three-time winner of the World Cup, passed away on Thursday at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo from multiple organ failure due to the progression of colon cancer. Fireworks greeted the hearse carrying Pelé’s coffin as it left the hospital. The passage of colon cancer caused Pelé’s death.
As the hearse made its way toward the stadium, it was accompanied by a robust police escort. His casket will be interred in the center of the playing field there.
Fans had already begun to line the streets by the early hours of Monday morning, with many of them clutching flags or banners with messages for ‘O Rei,’ which translates to ‘The King.’ One of the signs by the side of the highway read, “Pelé, you are everlasting.”
Within the Santos stadium, which has a capacity of 16,000 people, several giant banners have been hung up across the stands, one of which reads “long live The King.”
Over more than six decades, the name Pelé has been inextricably linked to football. The only player in the tournament’s history to win three titles, he participated in all four World Cups. Still, his legacy will be remembered for much more than his trophy haul and extraordinary goal-scoring record.