Pelé’s funeral: Thousands bid farewell to football legend

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CNN

Soccer great Pelé was laid to rest on Tuesday after thousands took to the streets in the city of Santos to witness his funeral procession.

The procession had started at the Urbano Caldeira Stadium, home of Pelé’s former club Santos, and his coffin was carried through the streets of Santos, including the street where Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, living

It continued to the Necrópole Ecumênica Memorial cemetery, where a private burial would be held for family members.

The three-time World Cup winner died on Thursday at the age of 82 due to multiple organ failure due to the progression of colon cancer.

Tributes from around the world have since poured in, with people of all ages flocking to the 24-hour public wake, which began on Monday at the 16,000-seater Santos stadium, known as often “Vila Belmiro.”

More than 230,000 people, many of them wearing Brazil’s iconic yellow jersey, attended the vigil, according to Santos.

Pelé's coffin is taken through the streets on a fire engine.

The doors of the stadium closed with thousands of mourners still going and people were turned away, according to CNN crews on the ground.

A large crowd then took to the streets, waving flags and cheering as the Brazilian coffin passed by.

Pelé’s sister, Lucia, was seen sobbing from a balcony at a crowd that had gathered outside her mother’s house. The coffin then arrived at the cemetery.

Brazilian president Lula da Silva arrived on Tuesday morning with police security “heavily” reinforced to accommodate the President’s presence, Santos told CNN.

“Pele is incomparable, as a footballer and as a person,” Lula said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino traveled to Brazil on Monday to pay his respects.

Brazil's president, Luia da Silva, greets Pelé's wife at the memorial on Tuesday,

“Pelé is eternal,” Infantino told reporters, according to Reuters. “FIFA will honor the ‘king’ as he deserves.

“We have asked all football associations in the world to pay a moment of silence before every game and we also ask them, 211 countries, to name a stadium after Pelé. Future generations must know and remember who Pelé was.”

For more than 60 years, the name Pelé has been synonymous with football. He played in four World Cups and is the only player in history to win three, but his legacy went far beyond his trophy and impressive goalscoring record.

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

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

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