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World football icon and Brazil legend Pele dies aged 82

Brazilian football legend Pele has died following a long battle with cancer, his agent Joe Fraga and his family confirmed on Thursday.

Representatives for Pele announced his death on the sport star’s social media: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today.”

The 82-year-old three-time World Cup winner, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was remembered for his wide-ranging accomplishments, both on the football field and off.

dent during the Nigerian Civil War when opposing factions agreed to a ceasefire in order to enjoy a match Pele played in the country.

“On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love. His message today becomes a legacy for future generations,” the message on Pele’s social media read.

Tributes poured in from around the world for the late football legend, including one from his daughter, documentary filmmaker Kely Nascimento. She posted a photograph to her Instagram showing 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.”

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.

The striker goes down as one of the greatest to ever play the game, having won three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He is Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 caps.

During his club career, he played near to 700 games for Santos over 18 years between 1956 and 1974, scoring more than 650 goals. He left the club for New York Cosmos after lifting 25 pieces of domestic silverware.

Including friendlies, Pele netted 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches in all, which is recognised as a Guinness World Record. After two years in the USA, he hung his boots up for good in 1976.

In 1999 he was named as the athlete of the century by the International Olympic Committee and player of the 1900s by FIFA alongside the late Diego Maradona. He won countless other individual awards during his lifetime, one of which was the 2005 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Award.

After Brazil’s 2022 World Cup last-16 win over South Korea on December 5, players unfurled a banner in tribute to the country’s hero amid his depreciating condition.


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