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Pelé, The Brazilian King of Football Has Died At the Age of 82

Pelé, The Brazilian King of Football Has Died At the Age of 82

Pele (Image: Picture Alliance)
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SAO PAULO (CelebrityAccess) – Pelé, the Brazilian king of football who won three World Cups and became one of the most important sports figures of the last century, died Thursday (December 29) due to complications and ailments from colon cancer. His agent, Joe Fraga, confirmed his death on social media, writing, “The king has passed.”

Pelé was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021 and has been under treatment for it. He was admitted to Albert Einstein Hospital at the beginning of December with multiple ailments. He died on Thursday “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition.”

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in the small city of Tres Coracoes in 1940; he grew up to become an internationally known and respected football player.

Outgoing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro declared three days of mourning and said in a statement that Pelé was “a great citizen and patriot, raising the name of Brazil wherever he went.”

Widely regarded as one of football’s greatest players, Pelé spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents as the game’s most prolific scorer with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team.

The player dubbed “The King” was introduced to the world at 17 at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, the youngest player ever. He was carried off the field on teammates’ shoulders after scoring two goals in Brazil’s 5-2 victory over the host country in the final.

The injury limited him to just two games when Brazil retained the world title in 1962, but he was the sign of his country’s World Cup triumph in Mexico. He scored in the final and set up Carlos Alberto with a nonchalant pass for the last goal in a 4-1 victory over Italy.

The image of Pelé in a bright yellow Brazil jersey remains alive with football fans everywhere ~ including his well-known goal celebration, a leap and raised right fist. He was so influential that factions of a Nigerian civic war in 1967 agreed to a cease-fire just so he could play an exhibition match in the country.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997 and met Ronald Reagan, the current POTUS. However, it was Reagan who held out his hand first, “My name is Ronald Reagan; I’m the president of the United States of America. But you don’t need to introduce yourself because everyone knows who Pelé is.”

Brazilian footballer Neymar said Pelé “changed everything.” In a post on Instagram, he wrote: “He turned football into art, into entertainment. He gave a voice to the poor, to black people and especially: He gave visibility to Brazil. Football and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King!” he added.

Portuguese star forward Cristiano Ronaldo sent his condolences to Brazil in a post on Instagram, saying, “a mere “goodbye” to the eternal King Pelé will never be enough to express the pain that currently engulfs the entire football world.”

A public service will be held on Monday at the Urbana Caldeira Stadium, home to Santos football club, according to a statement from Santos FC. On Monday, his body will be moved from the Albert Einstein Hospital to the stadium, and the coffin will be placed in the center. The wake will continue until Tuesday, after which a funeral procession will carry his coffin through the streets of Santos, including where his 100-year-old mother lives.

Pelé had two daughters out of wedlock and five children from his first two marriages, to Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi and Assiria Seixas Lemos. He later married a businesswoman, Marcia Cibele Aoki.

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