Sao Paulo (Brazil): Legendary football player Pele, died at the age of 82. He is three-time World Cup winner who is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time.
The Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement his death after a long battle with cancer was caused by ‘multiple organ failure,’ confirming the news from the legend’s family.
‘We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,’ daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram. Argentina’s World Cup-winning captain Lionel Messi simply wrote: Rest in peace.
Brazil’s president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva also tweeted: Thank you, Pele. He is only the footballer in history to have won three World Cups — in 1958, 1962, and 1970.
He scored a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 matches during a 21-year career.
He had been in increasingly fragile health, battling kidney problems and colon cancer undergoing surgery for the latter in September 2021, followed by chemotherapy.
A wake will take place on Monday, followed by a funeral on Tuesday in Santos, the southeastern city where he played most of his career, his former club said.
The city also declared seven days of official mourning, as fans flocked to the team’s stadium to leave flowers.
Emotional Brazilians also descended on the hospital where Pele died even running 1.5 kilometers to get there, in the case of Antonio Perera, 46, and his son Luis Eduardo, 12. He is our greatest idol, the greatest footballer of all time, Perera told AFP.
In a testament to Pele’s influence, international figures including US President Joe Biden and former leader Barack Obama, Brazilian music legends Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach also paid tribute.
As one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together, Obama wrote. Pele was born in October 23, 1940, in the southeastern city of Tres Coracoes, Edson Arantes do Nascimento — named for American inventor Thomas Edison — grew up selling peanuts on the street to help his impoverished family get by.