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Brazilian football legend Pele dies at 82

December 29, 2022

Considered by many to be the greatest footballer ever, Pele is the only player in history to win three World Cups, the first when he was a teenager.

Pele pictured at the GQ Men of the Years Awards in September 2017
Football legend Pele passed away at the age of 82Image: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Brazilian football player Pele died on Thursday, at the age of 82.

He had been battling cancer, as well as kidney and heart problems.

Pele was hospitalized on November 29. He had been regularly receiving hospital care since September 2021, when a tumor was removed from his colon.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, confirmed his death in a post on Instagram, sharing a picture of the family holding the hands of the late soccer giant.

"We love you endlessly. Rest in peace," she wrote.

In a post on Pele's official Instagram account, a statement read that Pele "enchanted the world with his genius in sport" and helped to spread a message of love.

"His message today becomes a legacy for future generations. Love, love and love, forever," the post reads.

Tributes pour in for 'King Pele'

Pele's death sparked a wave of condolences from around the world, with the government of Brazil declaring three days of mourning.

Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva posted an extended tribute to Pele on Twitter, writing how he felt privileged to have seen the late star in action.

Fans mourn Pele's passing

"There was never a Number 10 like him," Lula wrote, referencing the number Pele wore while playing for Brazil's national team.

Brazilian soccer superstar Neymar Jr. wrote that "Pele changed everything," giving a voice to the poor, to Black people and giving visibility to Brazil.

Brazil's CBF soccer federation said Pele "gave us a new Brazil and we can only thank him for his legacy."

German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer tweeted that football lost its greatest player and he had lost a friend, adding that "Football will forever be yours."

Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo posted a tribute on his Instagram page, offering his condolences to the people of Brazil, saying the death of "King Pele" has sent great pain throughout the football world.

Argentina's Lionel Messi, team captain of the recently crowned World Cup champions, paid tribute to the star in a post on Instagram.

Kylian Mbappe, who helped lead France to the most recent World Cup final in Qatar against Argentina, offered his condolences in a post on Twitter.

"The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten," Mbappe wrote.

Football clubs around the world posted their condolences, including Chelsea FC, Manchester United and England's national football team as well as Croatia's football federation.

The German Football Association (DFB) wrote on Twitter that "German football is in mourning. We already miss you."World leaders also reacted to Pele's passing, with French President Emmanuel Macron writing on Twitter: "The Game. The King. Eternity."

Pele: One of football's greatest players

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele is widely considered one of football's greatest players ever.

He is the only player in history to have won three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1970). In the first of those triumphs, he became the youngest-ever scorer in a World Cup final, netting twice at the age of 17 years and 249 days.

He played for Brazil and club sides Santos and New York Cosmos as a striker.

Pele was the Brazilian national team's all-time top goalscorer, with 77 goals in 92 games.

Following his playing career, Pele went on to hold a number of posts, including as a UNESCO Goodwill ambassador.

rs, sdi/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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