PELÉ has aged 82 after losing his cancer battle.
Hailed as the world’s greatest footballer and nicknamed ‘The King’, the Brazilian icon passed away in his homeland where he had been getting treatment for a tumour on his colon.
His daughter Kely Nascimento confirmed his death by saying on Instagram: “We are thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
She added three broken heart emojis to her note.
No details have yet been made public about funeral plans but a vigil will be held for the player at Vila Belmiro in Santos, the city where he is set to be buried.
Pelé was told before Christmas his colon cancer had advanced and he would be kept in hospital over the holiday.
He needed treatment for cardiac and renal dysfunction after previously being admitted to the hospital on November 30 with swelling all over his body, as well as “decompensated heart failure” and had received receiving palliative care.
Pelé won three World Cups with Brazil between 1958 and 1970 – the only
footballer to achieve the record.
He also racked up 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, including friendlies, which is a Guinness World Record.
His footballing debut came for his local team Santos aged 15 and he won his first cap for Brazil a year later, followed by the 1958 World Cup aged 17.
He is survived by his third wife Marcia Aoki and six children.
Before the Christmas holiday Pelé insisted he was “full of energy”.
The three-time World Cup winner broke his silence after it was reported on December 3 he had been put on end-of-life care as he continued to fight bowel cancer.
He said on social media: “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. I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I
“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.”
Pelé signed off his message with a praying hands emoji.
He has been undergoing chemotherapy treatment since September 2021 and
was said near the end of his life to have stopped responding to the treatment as he battles bowel cancer.
A recent report stated his chemotherapy had been suspended at the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo but he continued to receive pain relief.
Qatar lit up a building with a “get well soon” message for him during this year’s World Cup, while his Brazilian fans showed their support
during games by unfurling banners and tifos sending Pelé their best wishes.
He last year underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his colon in 2021
but this year was told the cancer cells had spread to his intestine, lung and liver.
In 2015, Pelé had prostate surgery and had another urinary infection in 2019 and suffers with the long-term effects of a hip prosthesis while movement is difficult due to knee problems.