Pele funeral procession sees streets packed for final farewell to Brazil legend


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.

Pele’s final journey through the streets of Santos saw thousands turn out on Tuesday to bid farewell to the man they knew as ‘King’.

The Brazilian great’s death at the age of 82 was announced last Thursday, with the three-time World Cup winner suffering from cancer.

He was moved into palliative care in early December after his body stopped responding to treatment, and his death was deeply felt across the country.

Santos, a municipality near Sao Paulo, is the city in which Pele spent his entire club career and away.

He was a superstar for Santos between 1956 and 1974, scoring 643 goals in 659 games and resisting opportunities to move up to Europe’s top teams.

A 24-hour wake began on Monday, with fireworks and flags flying 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.

It is a vertical, high-rise cemetery, whose Pele is to be buried on the ninth floor, in a place overlooking Vila Belmiro.

Santos City Hall said over 230,000 people passed by Pele’s coffin as it lay in state in the stadium, and crowds gathered outside as it left.

The procession traveled along the beach, with his casket resting on top of a fire truck, draped in a Brazilian flag.

Many walked beside and behind them, waving Santos flags and applauding longtime admirers.

The coffin passed the house of Pele’s 100-year-old mother.

At Santos beach, footage from behind showed a glimpse of a message inside a heart carved into the sand that read: “Pele will be eternal.”

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