Fans mourn Pelé during public screening at Brazil Stadium

SANTOS, Brazil (AP) — Mourners began paying their respects to Pele in a solemn procession past his coffin at the Vila Belmiro stadium in his hometown of Santos on Monday.

Pele’s coffin was placed on the pitch where he scored some of the best goals of his career. Mourners walked past his coffin at the 16,000-seat stadium outside Sao Paulo. His burial will take place on Tuesday in a cemetery just 600 meters away.

Fans arrived at the stadium in the early hours of Monday to honor Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known worldwide as Pelé.

One of them was Brazilian Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes.

“It’s a very sad moment, but now we see the true meaning of this legendary player for our country,” Mendes told reporters. “My office has shirts signed by Pelé, a photo of him as a goalkeeper, also signed by him. DVDs, photos, a large collection of him.

Mendes also said that Pele was a humble man despite his worldwide fame and deserved all the respect.

Pelé’s coffin will be brought to the streets of Santos before his burial. Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and other dignitaries are expected.

Pelé had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where he was hospitalized said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer.

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