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Brazilian soccer legend Pelé has died at age 82. After a long fight with colon cancer, he passed away on Thursday, surrounded by family in San Paulo, Brazil.
His daughter, Kely Nascimentov, first shared the news via an Instagram post with the hands of Pele’s family embracing him during his last moments.
Kely’s last message to her father was, “Everything that we are, is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
Pele’s health began to decline in 2012 after a failed knee replacement. He became dependent upon a walker and wheelchair to get around. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021 and underwent surgery in September 2021 to remove a tumor on the right side of his colon.
He had previously undergone treatment for his kidneys and prostate.
Brazilian legend Pelé remembered worldwide
According to CNN, the soccer legend was hospitalized in late November for a respiratory infection and for complications related to colon cancer. During his stay at Albert Einstein Hospital, his condition worsened as a result of his cancer progressing. In an official statement released from the hospital, Pelé died from “multiple organ failure” due to colon cancer.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in the slums of São Paulo, Pelé always had dreams of being a ‘futbol‘ player. His first introduction to the sport was running around his neighborhood, kicking a makeshift ball made of rags tied together or a sock stuffed with newspaper.
His dreams became a reality as a young teen playing with the Brazilian soccer club, Santos. He scored his first goal with the team before he was 16.
In 1958, at the ripe age of 17, he made his World Cup in Brazil vs. Wales. He scored the country’s only goal in their quarterfinal victory.
Out of the four World Cup appearances he made, Pele won three in 1958, 1962, and 1970. In 1975 he brought his talents to North America, signing a $1.67-million-a-year contract with the New York Cosmos. He led the team to win the North American Soccer League championship in 1977.
Pelé officially retired in 1977. Nicknamed “the Black Pearl”, as well as “the King,” he held Brazil’s all-time scoring record with 1,281 goals in 1,363 games.
Before his death, Pele was able to receive “Get Well Soon” messages from Brazil’s fans during the 2022 World Cup.