Brazilian football legend and three-time World Cup winner Pelé has died at the age of 82. Pelé is widely considered to be one of the greatest to have played the sport, if not the greatest ever. Tributes have poured in from all around the world on social media as the footballing fraternity grieves for its king. Read to find out the cause of Pelé’s death and learn more about the legacy he leaves behind.
Pelé’s death and cause of death
Originally known as Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé passed away at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Morumbi, Sao Paulo in the presence of his family.
- Pelé died following a long-standing battle against colon cancer. In September 2021, he had surgery to remove a tumor in his colon after which he underwent chemotherapy.
- Earlier in November, Pelé was shifted to intensive care after the chemotherapy’s effects were futile. According to doctors, the cancer led to further renal and cardiac complications and resulted in a fatal multiple-organ failure.
Tributes and condolences
Pelé has been a central figure in football, sports, and culture. His death has raked in heartfelt tributes and condolences from all over social media. This includes football stars, world leaders, musicians, and more.
- Neymar Jr. had always been the heir apparent to Pelé in the Brazilian national team. He posted a picture on Instagram and penned an emotional tribute to the Brazilian maestro in the caption.
- Former US President Barack Obama shared an image of himself with Pelé on Twitter to pay his final respects. He called him one of the greatest ever to play the game and one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who loved and admired him. pic.twitter.com/urGRDePaPv
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) December 29, 2022
- Other notable tributes came from Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Joe Biden, Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland, and even the space agency NASA.
We mark the passing of the legendary Pelé, known to many as the king of the "beautiful game." This image of a spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor shows the colors of Brazil. pic.twitter.com/sOYfKdTeAJ
— NASA (@NASA) December 29, 2022
Pelé’s career and legacy
Pelé remains the only player in history to win three FIFA World Cups. For many from his generation, Pelé is inarguably the greatest player to ever kick a ball.
- Alongside the late Diego Maradona, Pelé is considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of sports as well as the entire 20th century.
- Despite having never played in Europe, the Brazilian legend is the only player to receive an honorary FIFA Ballon d’Or Prix d’Honneur.
Pelé's message to Maradona after the Argentine passed away in 2020.
RIP legends 🙏 pic.twitter.com/GzJf6v2tnQ
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 29, 2022
With over 1,301 goals in 1,390 total appearances, it’s nearly impossible for a player to match O Rei’s godly numbers. Even after his death, Pelé’s footballing greatness shall always remain the gold standard to be compared to, for the present and future generations.
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