Pele, 82-year-old World Cup legend dies after battling serious illness

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Football world champion, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele world over, is dead.

Pele’s death was announced by his agent to the Associated Press on December 29 2022.

As Brazil chased 2022 FIFA World Cup glory in Qatar, their biggest ever star’s health caused worldwide concern.

The 82-year-old won three World Cups with the Selecao and is widely regarded as the best player of all time.

Pele’s health had been making headlines for the past four years as the Brazil legend battled a variety of illnesses.

Pele was still in hospital on December 28. Spanish publication El Espanyol said he was in a “critical condition” and “fighting for his life.”

Pele was hospitalised on November 29 and had remained stable since, with medical staff confirming he was responded well to treatment for a respiratory infection. According to ESPN, he had COVID-19 just prior to his hospitalisation.

After reports in Brazil suggested Pele was in palliative care, the man himself took to Instagram on December 3 to clarify he was feeling “strong” and that his treatment hadn’t changed.

“My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive. I’m strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual,” Pele shared on Instagram.

“I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I have received.

“I have a lot of faith in God and every message of love I receive from you all over the world keeps me full of energy. And watch Brazil in the World Cup too!

“Thank you so much for everything.”

Pele also shared pictures of the Pele banner Brazil displayed after their 4-1 win over South Korea on December 5 to highlight the fact he was still paying close attention to the tournament.

His daughter Kely Nascimento had been keeping fans informed of her father’s health and just before Christmas she posted that celebrations at home had been cancelled and they were spending the season at the hospital.

On Boxing Day she thanked hospital workers for their help and care in looking after her father during the festive period.

She said: “To see our dad being treated by these care professionals, super competent and extremely caring. Not a moment goes by that we forget this privilege. Even in sadness we can only be thankful.”

While also currently being treated for a respiratory infection, Pele had been battling colon cancer since 2021.

A tumour was removed from the Brazilian that year and he has since been undergoing chemotherapy.

Colon cancer has a 64 per cent five-year survival rate and this jumps up to 91% if diagnosed at the localised stage.

Pele was being treated at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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