Brazilian footballer Pelé has passed away at the age of 82 after being diagnosed with colon cancer in September 2021.
His agent Joe Fraga confirmed the news to the Associated Press today (29 December).
The sporting legend was hospitalised on 29 November to allow doctors to reevaluate his treatment, and shortly before Christmas his daughter, Kely Nascimento-Deluca, confirmed that he would be staying at Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo over the festive season.
It was determined that his cancer had advanced and he would require treatment for heart and kidney trouble, though in early December Pelé had released a statement encouraging everyone to keep 'calm and positive'.
“I’m strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual. I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I have received," the footballer wrote.
Pelé, who is a three-time World Cup winner himself, added: "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.”
Nascimento-Deluca explained the family had decided to keep Pelé in hospital over Christmas after chatting with doctors.
In an Instagram post, she wrote: "Insta family, our Christmas at home has been suspended. We decided with doctors that, for many reasons, it will be best for us to stay here, with all the care that this new family at Einstein gives us.
“We will even make some caipirinhas (no kidding). We love you and we will give up an update next week."
"We, as always, thank you for all the love you show here in Brazil as well as around the world! Your love for him, your stories and your prayers are a huge comfort because we know we are not alone," she added.
Pelé was born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, but became known globally as Pelé as he established himself as one of football's most famous players.
He helped Brazil win the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and over the course of his career scored 77 goals for his national team.
Following his diagnosis of colon cancer in 2021, Pelé underwent surgery to remove a tumour.
In a statement released on 21 December, doctors offered an update on his health, saying: "Hospitalised since 29 November for a reassessment of chemotherapy for colon tumour and treatment of a respiratory infection, Edson Arantes do Nascimento’s cancer has progressed and requires greater care for renal and cardiac dysfunctions.”
Tributes have been flooding in for the footballer in the wake of his death, with football journalist Fabrizio Romano writing: "Brazilian legend Pelé has passed away at 82, one of the greatest of all time who changed the game.
"A man with a god-given talent, one of the names who will remain forever in the memory. All thoughts with the family. RIP, legend."
BBC Sport added: "Football has lost one of its icons. Brazil’s highest-ever scorer. The only player to win three World Cups. FIFA’s Player of the 20th Century joint-winner. RIP Pelé."
LADbible has contacted Joe Fraga for comment.Featured Image Credit: Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy Stock Photo/Shutterstock