December 30, 2022
Brazil football legend Pele, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 82.
The former striker, who is the only player in history to win three World Cups, passed away at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo following a battle with cancer.
A message from Pele’s official Twitter account on Thursday read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”
Pele, who is Brazil’s joint all-time top scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches, became an icon of the game after winning the World Cup in 1958 as a 17-year-old, netting twice in the final to defeat hosts Sweden.
Pele – originally named Edson Arantes do Nascimento – began playing for Santos at the age of 15 and the Brazilian national team a year later, bursting onto the world football scene as a 17-year-old in the 1958 World Cup.
During his international career, he won three World Cups – in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – the only player to achieve this.
He died at 3.27pm Brazilian time due to multiple organ failure resulting from his colon cancer, the hospital said in a statement.
Pele’s role in Brazil’s third victory, in Mexico in 1970, has gone down in football folklore, as he played a key role in arguably the sport’s greatest ever international team.
His glittering 20-year career from 1957 to 1977 saw him score 757 goals in 831 games, although Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000.
A post on Pele’s official Instagram account following his death said the icon “enchanted the world”.
“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, 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.”