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Brazilians say goodbye to Pelé with a 24-hour wake and a procession of his coffin

(CNN) — Brazilians are attending to say their last goodbye to the great king of soccer, Pelé, with a 24-hour public wake, which began Monday at the Estadio Urbano Caldeira, the home of his former soccer club Santos.

Even the recently sworn in president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, will attend Pelé’s wake this Tuesday at 9 am local time (7 am Miami time), his press office announced. Lula da Silva “will pay homage and tribute to Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé, and will show his solidarity with the family, on the morning of Tuesday, January 3, in the city of Santos,” read a statement.

This Tuesday, a funeral procession will carry Pelé’s coffin through the streets of the city of Santos, even passing through the street where Pelé’s mother, Celeste Arantes, 100, lives.

Brazil and the world bid farewell to Pelé at his funeral at the Santos stadium 6:10

The procession will continue to Pelé’s final resting place, the Necrópole Ecumênica Memorial Cemetery, where a private funeral will be held for the relatives.

Fans of Brazilian soccer legend Pelé attend his wake at the Urbano Caldeira stadium in Santos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, on January 2, 2023. – (NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

The hearse carrying Pelé’s coffin was greeted with fireworks after leaving the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo, where the three-time World Cup winner died of multiple organ failure due to the progression of colon cancer on 30 from December.

The hearse was under a heavy police escort as it headed for the stadium, where his coffin will be placed in the middle of the field.

Fans had already begun to fill the streets in the early hours of Monday morning, many carrying flags or banners with ‘O Rei’ messages. “Pelé, you are eternal,” said one on the side of the road.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino (right) greets the son of Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, Edinho (left).(NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

For more than 60 years, the name Pelé has been synonymous with soccer. He played in four World Cups and is the only player in history to win three, but his legacy stretched far beyond his trophy and his remarkable scoring record.

“I was born to play soccer, just like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint,” Pelé said.

Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in history and Brazil celebrated three days of national mourning after his death.

Tributes have poured in from sports stars, politicians and musicians around the world to a man who transcended his sport and became a global icon.

(MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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