Brazil, 24-hour vigil for ‘football king’ Pele

Story: Brazilian mourners lined up to see the body of football legend Pele lying in an open coffin for a 24-hour wake in the coastal city of Santos on Monday.

Long lines formed outside the Vila Belmiro Stadium, home of Santos Football Club, to see Pele, who died last week at the age of 82 after battling colon cancer.

His body arrived early Monday morning in Santos, where he spent most of his life after being moved from the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo.

Former Brazilian international midfielder Zeroberto and Pele’s son helped place his coffin in the center of the field.

Some fans wiped their tears as they crossed the pitch. Others waiting outside to pay their respects believe Pele has elevated Brazil’s standing in the world.

“It is the loss of an idol for all, a great figure who made a name for a country in every corner of the world.”

With over 1,000 goals for Santos, Pele is the only player to win three World Cups.

The city’s press office said about 5,000 journalists from around the world were qualified to cover the wake.

The São Paulo state military police said in a statement that they had prepared a special operation called “Operation King Pele” to ensure public order.

On Tuesdays, a procession carrying Pele’s coffin runs through the streets of Santos and ends at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis Cemetery.

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