Brazilian football star and winner of three World Cups, Pele, has died at the age of 82
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Pele, widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 82. He had been battling colon cancer since September 2021.
A medical report released just before Christmas showed the ex New York Cosmos star needed care for cardiac and renal dysfunction.
The former Santos player won three World Cups with the Brazil national team, a feat no other footballer has achieved. At the time of his death, he was being treated at the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in São Paulo since November 29.
In a statement released from the hospital, he died at 3.27pm Brazilian time due to local organ failure as a result of his cancer.
Pele began his rise to stardom at the tender age of 15 - when he broke into the first team of Santos. The Brazilian side are one of the biggest in the country, producing global stars such as Neymar, Rodrygo and more.
He made his name on the global stage as a 17 year old in 1958 when he won his first World Cup, scoring in the final. He then went on to win another two World Cups in 1962 and 1970.
Tributes from some of the current and former global football stars swiftly poured in. Gary Lineker said: “The most divine of footballers and joyous of men. He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to.”
The English Football Association also paid tribute to the former forward, lighting the Arches of Wembley in his memory. Pelé enjoyed many great battles against England, and most notably Bobby Moore.
Lionel Messi, who many regarded as the greatest of all time shared a simple reflection of “rest in peace”. Messi recently won his first World Cup, the only trophy that had eluded him.
A post on Pele’s official Instagram account following his death said the icon "enchanted the world".
"Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. 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. Love, love and love, forever."