Pelé funeral procession: thousands turn out for Brazil legend’s final journey
Crowds filled the streets of Santos for a final farewell to Pele, as his cortege left the Vila Belmiro stadium to his final resting place.
Thousands turned out on Tuesday to witness Pelé on his final journey through the streets of Santos and bid farewell to the man they knew as O Rei. The Brazil icon’s death at the age of 82 was announced last Thursday, with the three-time World Cup winner finally losing his battle with cancer and heart failure. He had been moved to palliative care early in December after his body stopped responding to treatment, and his death has been felt deeply across the country.
Santos bid farewell to O Rei
Santos, a municipality approximately 55 kilometres from São Paulo, is the city where Pelé spent his entire club career and far beyond. He was the superstar at Santos FC, whom he represented from 1956 to 1974, scoring 643 goals in 659 matches and resisting opportunities to move to leading European teams including Juventus and Real Madrid.
A 24-hour wake began on Monday, with fireworks set off and flags waved in his honour, and the celebration of his life continued as his coffin left the Vila Belmiro stadium to travel through the city, before heading to the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica - a vertical, high-rise cemetery, with Pelé due to be laid to rest on its ninth floor, at a site that overlooks the Vila Belmiro.
Santos City Hall said over 230,000 people had filed past Pelé’s coffin while it lay at the stadium, and crowds gathered outside as it left today. The cortege travelled along the beach front, with his coffin resting on top of a fire engine, draped in a Brazil flag. Many walked alongside and behind, with Santos flags waved and applause by long-time admirers.
The funeral procession also passed by the home of Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Dona Celeste. On Santos beach, overhead shots showed a view of a message inside a heart, etched onto the sand, reading: “Pelé will be eternal.”
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