Sadness descends upon Brazil following the death of Pele

Sadness descended on Brazil today, Friday, after the death of one of its brightest stars, soccer legend Pele, who died at the age of 82 after suffering from colon cancer for just over a year.

Fans gathered outside the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, where Pele was undergoing treatment, to mourn the loss of one of the greatest players of all time and displayed Pele memorabilia on a tightrope at the hospital entrance.

“I will never forget him, the Brazilian king of football. He made us happy even in the darkest of times,” said Antonio da Paz, 67.

Pele’s death has united Brazil, deeply divided by a heated presidential election.

The outgoing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who will leave office the day after tomorrow, Sunday, declared three days of mourning.

Monuments have turned on their lights to honor him, including the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro and the New Quimeca Arena in Sao Paulo, where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup was held.

“Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Pele’s original name – died on Thursday at 15:27 local time (18:27 GMT) due to the failure of multiple organs to function as a result of the progression of colon cancer linked to his previous medical condition,” the hospital said in a statement.

And Pele’s body will be released from the hospital next Monday, after the inauguration of President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and he will be transferred to the center of the Santos stadium, his city club.

The next day, a procession carrying his coffin will pass through the streets of the coastal city of Santos, ending at the Ecomenical Necropolis Cemetery where he will be buried in a private farewell.

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