Sports

Over 200,000 Fans Attend Pele’s Wake-keeping

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva led the honors on Tuesday as Brazil bid the farewell to football hero, Pele, who is widely considered as the greatest player of all time.

The “The King” player was honored in the southern city of Santos, which is home to the club where he spent the majority of his illustrious career, by a throng of admirers, legislators, and football leaders.

In the Vila Belmiro stadium, where a constant stream of mourners remained straight through the night, Santos FC reported that more than 230,000 people attended his 24-hour wake.

Lula, who assumed office on Sunday, during a ceremony that began with a moment of respect for Pele, arrived by helicopter for the wake and greeted Marcia Cibele Aoki, Pele’s widow, who was inconsolable.

The president and First Lady Rosangela “Janja” da Silva stopped in front of Pele’s casket and hugged Aoki and other family members, clearly saddened.

“Good-bye to the King. Rest in peace Pele”, the president posted on Twitter.

In his more than two-decade career with Santos (1956–1974), the Brazilian national team, and the New York Cosmos, Pele, the only player in history to win three World Cups, set a record of 1,281 goals (1975-77).

After a cancer fight, he passed away on Thursday at the age of 82.

A brief Catholic liturgy marked the conclusion of his wake, and ten state police guards in dress uniform then covered his black casket.

The coffin was then raised to the top of a flashy red fire truck and draped in the Santos and Brazilian flags before being carried in a large funeral procession through the streets of Santos, passing by the home of Pele’s mother, Celeste Arantes, who is 100 years old.

A Catholic burial liturgy will be performed before Pele is buried in a 10-story mausoleum that holds the Guinness World Record for being the highest cemetery on Earth at the Memorial Cemetery in the port city, where the funeral procession will come to a finish.

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