He was perhaps the greatest footballer of all time: The government there ordered a three-day national mourning after the death of the Brazilian legend Pelé. The 82-year-old had taken care of his final resting place almost two decades before his death.
Pelé's final resting place, like him, is in the Guinness Book of World Records: while Brazil's late legend is listed as the only three-time soccer world champion, the high-rise building in Santos holds the title of the world's tallest cemetery. On Tuesday, the coffin containing the remains of the 82-year-old will be taken to a crypt on the ninth floor of the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica.
At the stadium known as Vila Belmiro, Pelé's body will be laid out in the center circle for 24 hours on Monday so fans can march past and pay their last respects to their idol. A funeral procession is then planned for Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. local time, across town to the house where his 100-year-old mother Celeste still lives today, before Pelé's final resting place at the memorial.
At the request of the family, the funeral ceremonies will not take place until after the turn of the year, because on Sunday the elected President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will be ceremoniously inaugurated in the capital Brasilia. He takes over for outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro. Pelé's body will remain at the Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo until Monday, where he died on Thursday after a month's stay as a result of colon cancer from multiple organ failure.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian government has ordered three days of national mourning. This was announced by President Bolsonaro in a decree published in the Official Journal on Thursday. "We mourn the loss of a man who brought the name of Brazil into the world through football. He turned football into art and joy," the right-wing head of state had previously written on Twitter. "May God comfort his family and receive him in his infinite mercy."