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Brazilian soccer legend Pelé dies at age 82

Brazilian soccer icon Pelé has died after battling cancer, his family announced Thursday on social media. He was 82.

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the man widely known as Pelé died at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pelé’s cancer was discovered when he underwent colon tumor removal surgery in 2021. He was admitted to the hospital Nov. 29 for a respiratory infection, and was re-evaluated for the chemotherapy treatment. The hospital said last week that his colon cancer had progressed and continued to impact his kidney and heart function, saying in a news release: “The Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein regretfully confirms the death of Pelé, today, December 29, 2022, at 3:27 p.m, due to multiple organ failure, a result of the progression of colon cancer associated to his previous clinical condition. Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein sympathizes with “the family and everyone who suffers from the loss of our dear King of Football.”

Pelé was a three-time World Cup champion, scoring 12 times in 14 career appearances at the tournament. Additionally, he scored nearly 1,300 goals over his professional career. Pelé’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, wrote on Instagram: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.” In addition, a message posted to Pelé’s Instagram account read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today. 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. His message today becomes a legacy for future generations. Love, love and love, forever.”

Tributes to Pelé flooded social media Thursday afternoon, with messages from the Brazilian Football Confederation and other national teams, and players from around the world including Neymar Jr., Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo wrote on Instagram: “My deep condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Edson Arantes do Nascimento.  A mere ‘goodbye’ to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that the entire football world is currently embracing. An inspiration to so many millions, a reference yesterday, today and forever. The love you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared even from distance. He will never be forgotten and his memory will live forever in each and every one of us football lovers. Rest in peace King Pelé.”

Editorial credit: Nelson Antoine /

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