Brazil declares three days national mourning for Pele

Friday, 30 December 2022 33
Amir Hussain, visiting from Denmark, uses table salt to draw a tribute to Pele in Times Square in New York on December 29/AP


Brazil has declared three days of national mourning following the death of Pele - as plans for the legendary footballer’s funerals have been revealed.

The Brazilian star - who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest athletes in modern history - died on Thursday at the age of 82 following a battle with cancer.

A 24-hour wake will be held for Pele on Monday in the centre of the field at the stadium of Santos, the hometown club where he began playing as a teenager and quickly rose to fame, it has now been revealed.

On Tuesday, a procession carrying Pele’s coffin will take place through the streets of Santos, passing the neighbourhood where his 100-year-old mother lives.

It will end at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery, where he will be buried in a private ceremony.

A person takes photos of an image of football icon Pele following his death on December 29, in Sao Paolo, Brazil / Getty Images

Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was undergoing treatment, said he died at 3.27pm local time on Thursday “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition”.

The government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who leaves office on Sunday, has since declared three days of national mourning, saying in a statement that Pele was “a great citizen and patriot, raising the name of Brazil wherever he went.”

Bolsonaro’s successor, President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, wrote on Twitter that “few Brazilians carried the name of our country as far as he did.”

Pele’s death was confirmed on his Instagram account on Thursday, prompting an outpouring of tributes from across the worlds of sport, politics and popular culture.

“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today,” read the Instagram post, adding he had “enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.”

Pele had been undergoing chemotherapy since he had a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021. He also had difficulty walking unaided since an unsuccessful hip operation in 2012.

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