New Brazilian President Lula joins thousands paying their respects to Pele at stadium funeral and comforts his widow – hours before procession through Santos and private burial
- The Brazilian star died on December 29 at the age of 82 after cancer battle
- His body is currently lying in state at the stadium of his long-time club Santos
- Lula, who took power on Jan. 1, was seen passing Pele’s casket on Tuesday
Brazil’s president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva paid his respects at Pele’s open casket on Tuesday, as one of his first actions as the country’s new head of state.
The Brazilian star died on December 29 at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer, and was mourned on Monday and Tuesday at the stadium of his long-time club Santos, where thousands of people arrived to bid him farewell.
Lula, who took office Sunday in a ceremony that began with a minute’s silence for Pele, paused before the coffin of the man widely considered the greatest footballer of all time and embraced his widow and other family members.
Lula will lead the tributes as Brazil says its final farewell to the footballing legend and its most famous son as the 24-hour wake ends this morning, before a procession will take Pele’s coffin through the streets of Santos to a private burial.
Pictured: Brazil ‘s new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva comforts Pele’s widow at the footballing stars wake in Santos, Brazil on Tuesday
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (left) greets the son of late Brazilian football legend Pele, Edinho (right), during his wake at the Urbano Caldeira stadium in Santos, January 3
Mourners began paying their respects to Pele in a solemn procession past his coffin at the Vila Belmiro Stadium in his home town of Santos on Monday.
Pele’s coffin was placed on the Santos field where he scored scored some of the best goals of his career. Thousands of mourners draped in Pele shirts and flags walked past his casket in the 16,000-seat stadium outside Sao Paulo.
Vila Belmiro was decorated with Brazilian flags and No 10 shirts that became popular after Pele started wearing them for Santos and Brazil.
The stands filled up with bouquets of flowers placed by mourners and sent by clubs and star players – Neymar and Ronaldo among them – from around the world as loudspeakers played a song named Eu Sou Pele (I Am Pele) that was recorded by the Brazilian himself.
His funeral was scheduled start at 10am local time, and the burial will take place in a vertical cemetery 600 metres away later on Tuesday.
Fans waited in three-hour queues snaking around the Urbano Caldeira stadium to see his coffin on the centre circle of the pitch.
Brazil’s new president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (pictured centre) visited Pele’s open casket on Tuesday, as one of his first actions as the country’s new head of state
The Brazilian star died on December 29 at the age of 82 after a long battle with cancer, and was mourned on Monday and Tuesday at the stadium of his long-time club Santos, where thousands of people arrived to bid him farewell. Pictured: Pele’s son Edinho is pictured with mourners as the body of Brazilian soccer legend Pele is seen in his casket, as he lays in state on the pitch of his former club Santos’ Vila Belmiro stadium
Football fans line up to attend the funeral of the late Brazilian soccer legend Pele at the Vila Belmiro stadium in Santos, Brazil, early Tuesday, January 3
Pictured: Pele of Brazil celebrates the victory after winnings the 1970 World Cup in Mexico
A one-hour Catholic Mass will be celebrated at the stadium at 12am GMT before a funeral procession at 4pm GMT will take his coffin past the house of Pele’s mother, 100-year-old Celeste Arantes, who is still alive but unaware of her son’s death. Pele will be taken to the burial at a nearby cemetery for close friends and family at 5pm.
The triple World Cup winner reportedly chose a special mausoleum at a burial site on the ninth floor of a nearby cemetery which will allow him to watch over the stadium.
Former Brazil midfielder Ze Roberto and Pele’s son Edinho were among those who placed his coffin on the pitch during a ceremony before fans and well-wishers were allowed to pay their respects.
Brazil’s government had declared three days of national mourning after Pele’s death.
Lula took office on January 1, beginning his third term as Brazil’s president.
One of Lula’s first decisions in office was to revoke policies of the far-right government of Jair Bolsonar that diluted environmental protection and helped contribute to deforestation that surged to a 15-year high, including a measure that encouraged mining on protected indigenous lands.
Lula also reopened the Amazon Fund.
Source: Read Full Article