Pele, the legendary Brazilian footballer who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and most well-known athletes of all time, died at the age of 82.
Pele died on Thursday at 3:27 p.m. (18:27 GMT) at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition.”
The death of the only player to win the World Cup three times was announced on his Instagram account.
“Inspiration and love marked King Pele’s journey,” it said, adding that he had “enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world, and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.”
Pele, real name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was remembered for his many achievements both on and off the football field.
The memorial post on Pele’s social media emphasized the star’s international appeal, referring to an incident during the Nigerian Civil War in which opposing factions agreed to a ceasefire in order to watch a match Pele played in the country.
“On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love. “Today, his message becomes a legacy for future generations,” the message read.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 29, 2022
‘We adore you infinity’
Tributes to the late football legend poured in from all over the world, including one from his daughter, documentary filmmaker Kely Nascimento. She shared a photo on Instagram of family members holding his hand as he lay in a hospital bed.
“We are everything because of you,” Nascimento wrote. “We adore you infinity. “May you rest in peace.”
According to medical reports, Pele died as a result of multiple organ failure caused by his battle with colon cancer. He had been hospitalized for a variety of ailments, including a respiratory infection, as well as heart and kidney problems.
In September 2021, Pele had a tumor removed from his colon. On November 29, he was admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo.
Doctors there said his colon cancer was showing “progression” and he needed “more extensive care to treat kidney and heart failure”.
Wembley has been lit up for Pele ❤️ pic.twitter.com/zvam9gmRdd
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) December 29, 2022
Pele, widely regarded as the greatest footballer of all time, led Brazil to three World Cup victories in 1958, 1962, and 1970. With 77 goals in 92 games, he is still Brazil’s leading scorer.
Following Argentina’s World Cup victory on December 18 in Qatar, Pele shared a photo of their team lifting the trophy on social media, praising captain Lionel Messi, France’s rising star Kylian Mbappe, and surprise semifinalists Morocco.
“Today, football continues to tell its story in an enthralling way, as it always has,” he said. “What a gift it was to witness this spectacle of our sport’s future.”
Brazil players and fans in Qatar also unfurled banners on and off the field depicting the football legend and expressing their best wishes for his recovery.