SANTOS, Brazil ( Associated Press) — Crowds of Brazilian mourners began paying tribute to Pele on Monday in a solemn procession before Pele’s casket at the Vila Belmiro stadium in the city of Santos.
The Brazilian football star passed away on Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 82 years old.
Pele’s coffin was placed on the pitch where the athlete scored some of the best goals of his career. Funeral attendees passed by the body at the 16,000-capacity stadium on the outskirts of Sao Paulo.
He will be cremated on Tuesday at the graveyard, just 600 meters from the stadium.
Fans turned out from the early hours of Monday to pay their respects to Pele, whose real name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
One of them was Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes.
“It’s a very sad moment, but we are now seeing the real importance of this legend to our country,” Mendes told reporters. I have a signed Pelé shirt in my office, as well as one of his goalkeeper gloves. There is also an autographed picture. There is a large collection of DVDs, photographs and related articles.
Mendes said that despite his worldwide fame, Pele was a simple man. He agreed that the deceased footballers deserve all the tributes.
Pele’s casket will be carried through the streets of Santos before burial. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and other dignitaries are expected to attend the funeral.
Pele was undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where he was admitted told that he died due to multiple organ failure due to cancer.