Brazilian maestro Pele, who was recognized worldwide as one of the greatest players in football for his mesmerizing skill and athleticism, has died at the age of 82.
Pele, who had a colon tumor removed in 2021, was readmitted to Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo in November in deteriorating health. A hospital statement on Thursday confirmed the death of “our dear King of Football” at 3:27 p.m. local time.
Pele’s official Instagram account is accompanied by the following statement: Along the way, Edson captivated the world with his sporting genius, stopped wars, carried out social activism around the world, and discovered what he believed most to be the cure for all our problems: love. spread. His message today is a legacy for future generations. love, love, love forever. ”
Following reports that he was in end-of-life care, Pele said in a social media post on Dec. 3 that he felt “strong and with a lot of hope.” A further statement from the hospital reported that Pele “requires further care related to kidney and heart dysfunction” after “advancement” of colon cancer. Posting on social media by daughter Kelly Nascimento indicated that his family had gathered at the hospital to spend Christmas with him.
Brazil’s all-time top goalscorer won three World Cups as a player in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and has scored 77 goals in 92 caps for Brazil in a 14-year international career. was recorded. Nicknamed the ‘Black Pearl’ or ‘King’, Pele was one of just three players to score goals in four World Cups. In 1,363 games he scored 1,281 goals, more than double that of his closest challenger when he retired in 1977.
He is most celebrated for his 1970 World Cup victory, where he was a cornerstone of an attractive team that included Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Gerson, Tostan and Riverino, who swept Mexico and his Canary Yellow ‘s No. 10 shirt has become a sports icon. .
World Soccer described Brazil’s 1970 winners as “more than a team”, adding: Pele was their icon and inspiration.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento on 23 October 1940, Pele began his professional career at the age of 15, making his international debut a year later. In 1999, he was voted Player of the Century in Ballon d’Or winners’ polls, and Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
In his heyday, Pele’s fame was such that he won audiences with the pope and heads of state, and his appeal was so great that the ill-fated New York Cosmos was forced to launch a football attack on America. When it came to calling for a marquee name, Pele was just one of them: few footballers in the 1970s gained recognition with the wider American public.
Pele previously had hip replacement surgery in November 2012 and was struggling to cope with life on the road. She then suffered from a urinary tract infection after undergoing kidney surgery to remove a stone.
In recent years, Pele has made fewer personal appearances, including in February 2020 when he did not attend the unveiling of a statue of him representing the 1970 World Cup winning team. The reason is mobility problems that have led Brazilians to use walkers and wheelchairs in public. .
Coach João Saldanha, who helped shape the team in 1970, once said: Hear about the best left-back or midfield player, or the best centre-forward. I always have to say Pele. If he wants to be a goalkeeper, he will be. There is only one Pele. ”