Brazil continues to mourn the loss of one of its greatest national heroes, soccer legend Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pelé, who passed away on Thursday, December 29, at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer.
To pay their respects, thousands of fans are expected to flock to the Vila Belmiro stadium in Santos, the team with which Pelé spent the majority of his professional career, for a 24-hour public wake starting on Monday.
At the stadium, Pelé’s coffin will be displayed on the field, surrounded by three giant flags bearing messages of tribute. One flag displays an image of Pelé in his iconic number 10 jersey, another reads “Long live the king,” and the third simply states “Pele 82 years.”
The public will be allowed to enter the stadium and pay their respects until 10:00 am (Brazilian time) on Tuesday, at which point a procession will take place through the streets of Santos, a port city located about 75 kilometres from the state capital of Sao Paulo.
The parade will pass by the home of Pelé’s 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, who is reportedly unaware that her son has died, according to Pelé’s sister, Maria Lucia do Nascimento. The procession will conclude at a cemetery in Santos, where Pelé will be laid to rest in a special mausoleum.