Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
He is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
The only player to win the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970, Pele was named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000.
He had been suffering with kidney and prostate problems in recent years.
Pele had surgery to remove a tumour from his colon in September 2021 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, after the tumour was detected in routine tests. He was readmitted to hospital in late November 2022.
His daughter Kely Nascimento has kept fans updated on her father’s condition with regular social media updates from hospital.
On Thursday she posted a picture of what appeared to be Pele’s family’s hands on his body in hospital and wrote: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
The hospital confirmed that Pele died “due to the failure of multiple organs, a result of the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous clinical condition”.
Pele’s Twitter account posted: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”
The Brazilian Football Confederation said: “Pele was much more than the greatest sportsperson of all time.
“Our king of football was the greatest exponent of a victorious Brazil, who was never afraid when faced with difficulty. He promised his father a World Cup and he presented us with three.
“The King gave us a new Brazil and we are so thankful for his legacy. Thank you, Pele.”
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, became a global star when, aged 17, he helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, forcing his way into the starting line-up by the knockout stages.
He scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Wales in the quarter-finals, a hat-trick against France in the semi-final and two in a 5-2 triumph over the hosts in the final.
|What made Pele great|
|Scored a reported 1,281 goals in 1,363 games||Made 14 appearances at World Cup finals, scoring 12 goals|
|Racked up 126 goals in 1959 alone||Only player to win three World Cups|