Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
He died at 3.27 pm Brazilian time due to multiple organ failure resulting from his colon cancer, the hospital said in a statement.
Pele had surgery to remove a tumour from his colon in September 2021 at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, after the tumour was detected in routine tests. He was readmitted to hospital in late November 2022.
His daughter Kely Nascimento has kept fans updated on her father’s condition with regular social media updates from hospital.
On Thursday she posted a picture of what appeared to be Pele’s family’s hands on his body in hospital and wrote: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
His daughter Kely Nascimento paid tribute to her father on Instagram: “We are thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
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 is credited with scoring a world record 1,281 goals in 1,363 appearances during a 21-year career, including 77 goals in 92 matches for his country.
The only player to win the World Cup three times, lifting the trophy in 1958, 1962 and 1970, Pele was named Fifa’s Player of the Century in 2000.
Pele’s Twitter account posted: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, became a global star when, aged 17, he helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, forcing his way into the starting line-up by the knockout stages.
He scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Wales in the quarter-finals, a hat-trick against France in the semi-final and two in a 5-2 triumph over the hosts in the final.