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Pelé: Brazil's football maestro and global superstar dies

Pelé: Brazil's football maestro and global superstar dies

Posted  432 Views updated 1 year ago

Pelé, the Brazilian king of soccer who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died Thursday. He was 82.

The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical centre where he had been hospitalised for the last month said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer.

“Pelé changed everything. He transformed football into art, entertainment,” Neymar, a fellow Brazilian soccer star, said on Instagram. “Football and Brazil elevated their standing thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will endure. Pelé is eternal!”

A funeral has been planned for Monday and Tuesday, with his casket to be carried through the streets of Santos, the coastal city where his storied career began, before burial.

tch in the country. He was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. When he visited Washington to help popularise the game in North America, it was the US president who stuck out his hand first.

“My name is Ronald Reagan. I’m the president of the United States of America,” the host said to his visitor. “But you don’t need to introduce yourself because everyone knows who Pelé is.”

Pelé’s life after soccer took many forms. He was a politician – Brazil’s extraordinary minister for sport, a wealthy businessman, and an ambassador for UNESCO and the United Nations.

He had roles in movies, soap operas and even composed songs and recorded CDs of popular Brazilian music.

As his health deteriorated, his travels and appearances became less frequent. He was often seen in a wheelchair during his final years and did not attend a ceremony to unveil a statue of him representing Brazil’s 1970 World Cup team.

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