The man, the myth, the greatest soccer player of all time, Pelé, has passed away from colon cancer at 82. According to the Associated Press, Pelé died Thursday in good company in his native Brazil. His agent, Joe Fraga, confirmed the sports superstar’s passing, saying Pelé had been hospitalized for several weeks as his health worsened. His daughter, Kely Nascimento, documented his final weeks and shared her father’s journey toward the afterlife with friends and fans across social media. Nascimento posted several photos of her father surrounded by loved ones leading up to his passing, including pictures of her and her father hugging each other and one of Pelé participating in a “hands in” gesture.
When translated into English, the Portuguese-language caption for the “hands in” photo reads, “Everything we are is thanks to you. We Love you infinitely.”
Pelé entered the hospital’s palliative care unit for treatments related to his cancer and a respiratory infection. His condition worsened as time passed, resulting in kidney and heart-related issues.
Known as Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Brazil and Pelé to his generations of adoring fans, Pelé led his home country to three World Cup championships in 1958, 1962, and 1970. In addition to being a legend on the soccer pitch, Pelé starred alongside Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine in John Huston’s 1981 sports drama Victory. The film focuses on allied P.O.W.s who prepare for a soccer game against the German National Team. The game takes place in Nazi-occupied Paris, with the French Resistance and British officers planning for the team’s escape.
As fleet-footed as they come, Pelé was Santos of Brazil’s all-time top goal scorer with 643 goals in 659 games. He led Santos to the 1962 and 1963 Copa Libertadores and the 1962 and 1963 International Cup. He ended his career in the United States, playing for the New York Cosmos in 1977, and later became a global ambassador for the sport.
Pelé is as legendary as they come and will be missed by his family, friends, and fans. Few players have achieved his skill level, and his contribution to the game forever changes the game of soccer. Rest well, Pelé. We will miss you.