Iconic Brazilian footballer Pele, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and the only player to have won the FIFA World Cup thrice, has died at the age of 82, his family said Thursday. “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” daughter Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram. The legendary footballer had been battling colon cancer and was admitted in a hospital for a respiratory problem on November 29. He cheered for the Brazilian team during the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar from the hospital bed.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, was born on October 23, 1940, at Tres Coracoes, in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. He gained global superstardom after playing an important part in Brazil’s maiden FIFA World Cup triumph in 1958. Still a teenager, Pele fired in a hat-trick in the semi-final against France and followed it up with a brace in the final against Sweden to help the Selecaowin the first of their record five world titles.
He was part of the team again that defended the title in 1962, before adding a third World Cup to his name in 1970, when Brazil famously defeated Italy in the final. He scored 12 goals in the World Cup during his career.
It is only fitting that Pele remained the highest goal-scorer for Brazil, with 77 goals in 95 games, during his lifetime. His record was tied by current Brazil sensation Neymar, during the team’s quarter-final loss in the World Cup earlier this month.
Pele breathed his last following colon cancer, for which he was undergoing chemotherapy. However, he stopped responding to chemotherapy and was shifted to palliative care. Pele had a tumour removed from his colon in 2021 and was taking chemotherapy ever since.
The Brazilian football player, also termed ‘The Greatest’ by FIFA, had been married thrice. He had a total of 7 children.
(With AFP inputs)
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