World football is in mourning. One of the most accomplished legends from Brazil, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pele, reportedly passed away on Thursday (29/12/2022) local time at the age of 82.
In recent years, Pele has struggled with his health. As well as battling cancer, he also suffered from severe hip pain and spent most of his last year in a wheelchair.
The Albert Einstein Hospital said Pele died at 15:27 local time “due to multiple organ failure resulting from the development of colon cancer and several pre-existing medical conditions.”
The news of the death of the man whose real name is Edson Arantes does Nascimento was also confirmed through various social media accounts managed by his agent. “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who passed away peacefully today,” wrote Pele’s official Instagram account, @pele.
Pele has recently been undergoing chemotherapy for follow-up after surgery to remove his intestinal tumor in September 2021. The Minas Gerais-born figure is often labeled as one of the best football players in history.
He grew up in poverty and his parents couldn’t even afford a soccer kit. An old sock filled with newspapers was the first “ball” his magic leg kicked, but it was enough for him to fall in love with the sport and people started to notice that he was different.
On the pitch, Pele became an instant celebrity after winning the 1958 World Cup. Back in Brazil, he helped Santos build a dynasty, winning 25 titles in the 1960s.
Despite being world famous, Pelée still lives a down-to-earth life in Santos. He will share a guest house with other players and cycle around town.
“The pay was terrible but he did it for the love of the game and we had a lot of fun,” said Carlos “Lala” (86), goalkeeper and Pele’s former Santos team-mate.
In 1969, he became the first player to score 1,000 goals. The 1,000th goal came at the Maracanã, in Rio de Janeiro
In 1974, he left Santos and played his last years in New York, at a club called Cosmos. Those were the only teams he played for apart from Santos and the Brazilian national team.
Pele was wearing the number 10 jersey but he did not know which number he would wear and was assigned the number 10 at random.
Since then the number 10 jersey has been associated with the best in the world – Maradona, Roberto Baggio, Zinedine Zidane, and Lionel Messi are just some of those who have worn it.
Pele retired having played 1,363 games, won 37 titles, and scored 1,281 goals, including 92 hat-tricks in his career.
Farewell Pele, May you rest in peace!