The 82-year-old former Brazilian football star Pele died on December 29 after suffering from colon cancer and spending Christmas in hospital receiving cardiac and renal treatment.
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA | NOW THEN DIGITAL — Pele, the only player in history to win three World Cups, died at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo following a battle with cancer. After winning the 1958 World Cup as a 17-year-old, he became an icon of the game, scoring twice in the final to defeat the host nation.
- Pele, the legendary Brazilian football player who played for the national team, died at the age of 82 due to cancer. He had been battling colon cancer and spent Christmas in the hospital after being diagnosed with coronary heart disease and renal failure.
- The news was confirmed by Pele’s daughter Kelly Cristina Nascimento on Instagram, who wrote: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.” She then added three heartbroken emojis.”
- He is widely regarded as the best football player ever and was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento. In only 92 international appearances, he scored 77 goals for Brazil and played on three world-renowned teams that won three World Cups from 1958 to 1970.
- Pele was voted World Player of the Century by Time Magazine in 2000 and named one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century by Time Magazine. Analysis revealed that he would have won the Ballon d’Or seven times if it had existed during his career if it had been the first-ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in 2014.
Kelly Cristina Nascimento, Pele’s daughter, confirmed the news via Instagram. In her post, she said: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.” She then added three heartbroken emojis.”
“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. In his journey, Edson charmed everyone with his brilliance in sport, stopped a war, performed social work around the world, and spread what he most believed to be the cure to all our problems: love,” reads a statement posted on Pele’s Instagram account.
Who is Pele?
A football legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento is widely considered the greatest player ever to have graced a football pitch. Between 1958 and 1970, Pele was a member of three world-renowned teams who won three World Cups, scoring 77 goals in 92 international appearances for Brazil.
During his 21-year domestic career, Pele played for just two clubs. Having made 636 appearances with his boyhood team Santos in 1956, he spent two years in the now-abolished North American Soccer League with the New York Cosmos.
In 700 games, he scored 655 goals for the club before retiring in 1976.
In 2000, Pele was named World Player of the Century by Time Magazine and one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, among several other accolades.
While analysis showed that he would have won the FIFA Ballon d’Or seven times if it had existed during his career, he received the first-ever FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur in 2014.
Pele underwent surgery in 2021 to remove a tumour from his right colon, and he later began chemotherapy that year. However, in recent weeks, the condition of the man appeared to have worsened when a comment stated that his tumor had advanced.
In the 2022 World Cup, Brazil players held up a banner with Pele’s picture and name after they beat South Korea in the last 16.
Pele’s family suspended Christmas
In a letter to family members, Pele’s daughter wrote: “Our Christmas at home has been suspended. We decided with the doctors that, for various reasons, it would be better for us to stay here with all the care that this new family at Einstein gives us.”
On one of the saddest days in football history, Pele left behind seven children: Kely, Flávia, Sandra, Edson, Jennifer, Joshua, and Celeste. However, he also leaves behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
To pay tribute to Pele, the Football Association has confirmed that the Wembley arch will be lit up in Brazilian colours.
In a tweet, Gary Lineker, former England forward and current presenter at the BBC, expressed his condolences, saying:
“Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. 3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt. He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality. RIP Pele.”
Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to. 3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt. He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality. RIP Pele
— Gary Lineker 💙💛 (@GaryLineker) December 29, 2022
Also paying tribute to Pele was former Three Lions striker Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the 1966 World Cup final. The player wrote:
“I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside).”
“For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.”
I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside). For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you. pic.twitter.com/oCpQlw7EIK
— Sir Geoff Hurst (@TheGeoffHurst) December 29, 2022
France’s Kylian Mbappe, who has publicly acknowledged how the Brazilian had a significant influence on his career, has added:
“The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING.”
The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten.
RIP KING 💔👑… pic.twitter.com/F55PrcM2Ud
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) December 29, 2022
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