We'll never forget him: Brazil mourns Pele

Brazil has been mourning the death of one of its brightest stars, soccer legend Pele, with fans and friends paying their respects to the sports icon who died at the age of 82 after suffering colon cancer for just over a year.

Outside Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele had been undergoing treatment, fans gathered to mourn the loss of one of the greatest ever exponents of the beautiful game, displaying Pele memorabilia on a clothesline by the entrance.

"I'll never forget him, the Brazilian king of soccer," said 67-year-old Antonio da Paz. "He provided us with joy even in our saddest times."

Pele's death has unified Brazil, a country starkly divided by a bruising presidential election.

Outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, who leaves office on Sunday, declared three days of mourning.

In a social media broadcast on Friday Bolsonaro said Pele "raised Brazil's name in the four corners of the world," adding, "the whole world is crying today".

Monuments have been lit up to honour the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player, including Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue and Sao Paulo's NeoQuimica Arena, where the opening match of the 2014 World Cup was played.

Further afield on Friday flags were lowered, periods of silence or applause were planned before matches, and other tributes made.

"Flags at the home of FIFA in Zurich are flying at half-mast today, as we remember the eternal king: Pele," world soccer's governing body FIFA said on Twitter.

FIFA wrote to its 200-plus member associations asking competition organisers to observe a minute's silence before matches this weekend, as well as over the coming week.

The Premier League, EFL and A-League said they would pay tribute to the soccer great through a minute's applause before games, as have Australia's A-Leagues.

The Premier League and EFL added that players will wear black armbands during this weekend's matches, while Spain's LaLiga and Italy's Serie A said they would observe a minute's silence ahead of games.

"I lost my brother," Pele's longtime personal assistant Jose Pepito Fornos told Reuters. "But we'll have all eternity to be together in the Father's house."

Edson Arantes do Nascimento - Pele's given name - died on Thursday at 3:27 p.m. local time (18:27 GMT) "due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition," the Albert Einstein hospital said in a statement.

A 24-hour wake will take place on Monday, after the inauguration of Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, on the pitch at the stadium of Santos, his modest hometown club, with whom he won two Copa Libertadores, the South American elite club competition, and two Intercontinental Cups, an annual tournament then held between the best teams in Europe and South America.

On Tuesday, a procession carrying his coffin will pass through the streets of the coastal city of Santos, passing the neighbourhood where his 100-year-old mother lives, ending at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery, where he will be buried in a private ceremony.