Football legend Pele dies aged 82

Pele had been undergoing chemotherapy since having a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021. (Photo: Reuters)

Pele, the iconic Brazilian soccer player who rose from poverty to become one of the modern era's finest and most famous athletes, passed away on Thursday at 82.

The Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, where Pele was receiving treatment, reported that he passed away at 3:27 p.m. "due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition."

The Instagram account of the only guy to win the World Cup three times as a player acknowledged his passing.

"Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who passed away peacefully today," the obituary read, adding that he had "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."

Sport, politics, and popular culture all paid their respects to a guy who exemplified Brazil's domination in the beautiful game.

The government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who leaves office on Sunday, has announced three days of mourning and released a statement describing Pele as "a great citizen and patriot, raising the name of Brazil wherever he went."

President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro's successor, stated on Twitter that "few Brazilians carried the name of our country as far as he did."

President Emmanuel Macron of France stated that Pele's legacy would last forever. "The game. The king. Eternity" tweeted Macron.

Pele had chemotherapy since September 2021, when a tumor was removed from his colon.

In addition, he has had trouble walking unassisted since a failed hip procedure in 2012. In February 2020, on the brink of the coronavirus pandemic, Pele's son Edinho said that his father's failing health had left him depressed.

On Monday, a 24-hour wake will be conducted for Pele in the stadium of his hometown club, Santos, where he began playing as a teenager and swiftly climbed to prominence.

The following day, a procession carrying his casket will travel through the streets of Santos, passing by the neighborhood where his mother, who is 100 years old, resides and concluding at the Ecumenical Memorial Necropolis cemetery, where he will be buried in a private ceremony.

Pele, whose name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, joined Santos in 1956 and made it one of the most renowned football clubs in the world.

In addition to numerous regional and national championships, Pele won two Copa Libertadores, the South American version of the Champions League, and two Intercontinental Cups, the yearly competition between the best clubs from Europe and South America.

He won three World Cups, the first as a 17-year-old in Sweden in 1958, the second in Chile four years later despite missing most of the tournament due to injury, and the third in Mexico in 1970 when he captained what is often regarded as the best team in the history of the sport.

A year after his retirement from Santos in 1974, he made a surprising comeback by accepting a lucrative contract with the New York Cosmos of the then-emerging North American Soccer League.

Depending on how matches were tallied, he scored between 1,281 and 1,283 goals over his 21-year career.

Pele transcended soccer, though, like no other player before or after, and he became one of the first global idols of the twentieth century.

He was more recognized than many Hollywood stars, popes, and presidents — many, if not the majority of whom he met during his six-decade career as a player and corporate pitchman.

Ciro Campos, a 49-year-old biologist in Rio de Janeiro, said, "I am sad, but I am also proud to be Brazilian, to be from Pele's country, a guy who was a great athlete. And also off the field, he was a cool person, not an arrogant athlete."

Pele attributed his unique blend of talent, creative ingenuity, and technical proficiency to his youth spent playing pick-up games in small-town Brazil, often with grapefruits or rags for a ball because his family could not buy one.

Pele was designated "Athlete of the Century" by the International Olympic Committee, co- "Football Player of the Century" by Fifa, and a "national treasure" by the government of Brazil.

His fame was frequently overwhelming. Adults of all ages often burst into tears in his presence. As a player, souvenir-hungry fans often rushed the field after games and ripped off his shorts, socks, and undergarments.

His home in Brazil was less than a mile from a beach, but he avoided it for around twenty years out of fear of crowds.

However, he seldom complained, even at unguarded moments with friends. He believed that his talent was a heavenly gift, and he spoke eloquently about how soccer enabled him to travel the world, offer joy to cancer patients and survivors of wars and starvation, and support a family that, while growing up, was frequently unable to afford food.

"God gave me this talent for one purpose: to make people happy," he told Reuters in a 2013 interview. Whatever I did, I endeavored not to forget that.

The CBF soccer federation of Brazil stated, "Pele was much more than the greatest athlete of all time... The King of Soccer was the supreme representative of a winning Brazil."

Kylian Mbappe, considered by many to be the best soccer player in the world at present, also expressed his condolences.

He stated on Twitter, "The king of football has passed away, but his legacy will never be forgotten." "RIP KING."

Publish : 2022-12-30 08:52:00

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