The funeral of legendary Brazilian footballer Pele is currently taking place in Santos, Brazil, with the footballer’s mother, Celeste, set ‘to say goodbye’ to him as she is still unaware of the three-time World Cup winner’s death.
Pele’s mother, Celeste, will have an opportunity to say a final goodbye to her son, after initially being tragically unaware the Brazilian legend had died due to her being in coma, reports from Brazil’s top media houses on Tuesday said.
The footballer, who won three World Cups with Brazil, passed away in late December. He had been receiving treatment at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo and his daughter, Kely Nascimento, posted an emotional tribute after her father’s passing.
Pele’s wake is currently taking place at Estadio Urbano Caldeira (also known as Vila Belmiro), the home of Santos, the club where he spent the majority of his iconic playing career. His coffin on Tuesday traveled through the streets of Santos, before it will pass the neighbourhood of his 100-year-old mother to allow ‘her to say goodbye’.
Maria Lucia do Nascimento, Pele’s sister cares for her mother and revealed Celeste was unaware of Pele’s death. “We talk but she doesn’t know the situation. She’s in her own world,” Maria Lucia said.
“She opens her eyes when I mention his name and say, ‘we’re going to pray for him’, but she’s not really conscious of what I’m saying.”
The body will travel through the Canal 6 neighbourhood where Celeste lives. Pele’s final place will be the Memorial Necropole Ecumenica, a vertical cemetery that will allow him to overlook Santos’ stadium, with a private funeral ceremony due to be attended by family members only.
“We wanted to come today because this will all be sealed off by the police tomorrow,” one visitor to the cemetery told The Mirror. It was Pele’s final wish to be buried there, with his father Dondinho – himself a professional footballer with Santos – also buried in the family vault after his death in 1996.
“We came to pay our respects and show the children Pele’s final resting place and what the city of Santos meant to him,” the visitor added. “And it overlooks the Vila Belmiro stadium where he graced the pitch on so many occasions.”
Celeste turned 100 in November, with Pele sharing a message on social media to mark the occasion. “Today, we celebrate 100 years of Dona Celeste’s life,” he wrote at the time.
“From a young age, she taught me the value of love and peace. I have well over a hundred reasons to be thankful for being her son. I share these photos with you, with great emotion to celebrate this day. Thank you for every day by your side, Mom.”