The football world mourns the passing of Pelé at age 82. The news was announced by Pele’s family and doctors on Thursday, and many have honoured the former player in many ways.
Before his passing, Pele had been battling cancer plus kidney and heart problems. In September, he had a tumour removed from his colon. Earlier this month, Pele was admitted to the hospital for treatment of respiratory infection. At the time, it seemed like Pele would recover.
Unfortunately, Pele was hospitalized on November 29. Since then, there was regular health updates on the man, but his condition did not seem to get better. Pele’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, was the one to confirm his death. She had shared a post on Instagram that showed a picture of the family holding the hands of the late football giant. The post had the caption, “We love you endlessly. Rest in peace.”
The moment his death was announced, several fans rushed to swarm the hospital he was in and many tributes were made to honour the man.
Pele was one of the biggest names in football history. When he made his debut for his club Santos at age 15 in 1956, he scored a record 643 goals in 659 appearances. At age 16 years and nine months, he became the youngest goal scorer for his country. He is also the youngest player to score a goal in a World Cup and a World Cup final and the youngest player to score a hattrick in a World Cup.
When he made his international debut in 1957, Pele showed maturity beyond his age and made the President of Brazil, Jânio Quadros announce him as a national treasure in 1961.
Pele was also regarded as the embodiment of Brazil’s “Jogo bonito” style, which helped the country win a record five World Cups. Pele himself, won three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
In 1999, the International Olympic Council named Pele, the Athlete of the Century. The next year, he was named to the Times magazine’s list of the 100 most influential individuals of the twentieth century.
Pele ended his international career in 1971. Before that, he had received the Golden Ball in his last World Cup in 1970, where his team beat Italy in the final 4-1. It was on October 1, 1977, that he officially ended his football career.
More than a football icon, Pele was “The King” of Brazil. With news of his passing, the entire country has gone to mourn. It was reported that Pelé’s wake will be on Monday at the Santos Football club.
Multiple tributes have been done to honour the man. From messages from prominent football players to tributes done by long-time fans, many are showing their love and mourning for the football icon in different ways.
The president of the Brazilian football federation, Ednaldo Rodrigues, said in a statement: “The CBF will pay all possible tributes to the greatest athlete of all time. Pele is eternal, and we will always work to preserve his history and continue his legacy.”