Brazil begins three days of national mourning over Pele’s death

Brazil has begun three days of national mourning after three-time World Cup winner Pele died on Thursday at the age of 82. The former striker, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all-time, passed away due to organ failure as a result of the progression of colon cancer.

Outgoing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree on Thursday that read: “Official mourning is declared throughout the country, for a period of three days, counted from the date of publication of this decree, as a sign of regret for the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, a former football player.”

Bolsonaro had previously taken to Twitter to pay his respects to Pele. “With regret the passing of a man, who through football, took the name of Brazil to the world,” he wrote. “He turned football into art and joy. May God comfort your family and welcome you into his infinite mercy.”

Pele scored 77 goals in 92 appearances for Brazil and helped his country lift the World Cup trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970. The legendary player spent almost the entirety of his club career playing for Santos. And Santos confirmed that they would be hosting his funeral on Monday.

“The body of the greatest football player of all time will be laid to rest at Estadio Urbano Caldeira, in Vila Belmiro, where he enchanted the world,” read a statement from the Brazilian club. “The body will go straight from the Albert Einstein Hospital to the stadium at dawn on Monday (2) and the coffin will be placed in the centre of the lawn. The public wake is expected to begin at 10am.”

Santos also explained how the public could pay their respects, while also sharing details of a private burial that will be attended only by Pele’s family. And a parade will also pass through Santos.

Following Pele’s passing, Santos had written: “Santos FC deeply regrets the death of the best football player of all time, the man who took the name of Alvinegro Praiano to the world, our greatest idol, who immortalised the number 10 shirt and turned it into a work of art. Any tribute is small compared to the greatness of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, our eternal King Pele.”

Meanwhile, a whole host of tributes for Pele have poured in since his death, with current Brazil superstar Neymar taking to social media to post: “Before Pele, 10 was just a number. I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete.

“I would say before Pele football was just a sport. Pele has changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave voice to the poor, to the blacks and especially: He gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He’s gone but his magic remains. Pele is FOREVER!!”

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By Tom Parsons

Tom Parsons is a sports reporter for He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in sports journalism and has more than a decade of experience in sports writing. Tom joined in the summer of 2021.

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