Internationally renowned former soccer player Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as “Pelé,” passed away on Thursday at 82-years-old.
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“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today,” read a tweet from Pelé’s official Twitter account. “Love, love and love, forever.”
Pelé’s agent, Joe Fraga, confirmed his death in a statement he shared with the Associated Press.
Pelé had been battling colon cancer since 2021 and had been hospitalized last month as he battled multiple ailments.
A native of Brazil, Pelé was a part of the Brazilian teams that won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
When Pelé played in his first World Cup tournament in 1958, he was just 17 years and 234 days old, making him the youngest player to compete in the tournament at the time. He was carried off the field by his teammates’ after scoring two goals in Brazil’s 5-2 victory over host nation Sweden in the 1958 World Cup final.
Pelé was only able to play for two games in the 1962 World Cup tournament due to an injury. Brazil went on to win that tournament.
Pelé appeared again in the 1966 World Cup, but Brazil was eliminated in the first round.
Brazil faired much better in the 1970 World Cup, advancing to the final game. There Pelé scored and gave an assist to Carlos Alberto, contributing to Brazil’s 4-1 victory over Italy.
In addition to being the youngest player in his time to go to the World Cup and being part of three winning World Cup teams, Pelé also played on the Brazilian soccer team Santos FC and holds the record for the most goals scored for the team, 643 across 659 games.
After news broke of his death, Santos FC tweeted an image of a crown, with the caption “Eterno.” meaning eternal. Below the crown, read Pelé’s given name, Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
Pelé is considered among the contenders for the title of best soccer player in history.
He was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.