Brazilian football legend Pele has died following a long battle with cancer, his agent Joe Fraga and his family confirmed on Thursday.
His daughter Kely Nascimento took to Instagram as the news broke to post a tribute to her father, accompanied by a photo of family members holding his hand as he rested in a hospital bed.
“Everything we are is thanks to you,” Nascimento wrote. “We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
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Pele had been hospitalised since November with multiple ailments, including a respiratory infection.
The 82-year-old three-time World Cup winner, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was also suffering from heart and kidney problems.
Pele had a tumour removed from his colon in September 2021. He was admitted to the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo on November 29.
Doctors there said his colon cancer was showing “progression” and he needed “more extensive care to treat kidney and heart failure”.
Pele, seen by many as the most talented footballer to ever play the game, led Brazil to a trio of World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He remains Brazil’s leading goal scorer, with 77 goals in 92 games.
Following Argentina’s World Cup win on December 18 in Qatar, Pele posted a picture on social media of their team lifting the trophy and hailed performances from captain Lionel Messi, France’s rising star Kylian Mbappe and surprise semifinalists Morocco.
“Today, football continues to tell its story, as always, in an enthralling way,” he said. “What a gift it was to watch this spectacle of the future of our sport.”
Brazil players and fans in Qatar also unfurled banners on and off the pitch with an image of the football great and wishes for his recovery.