Photo: Getty Images
  /  12.29.2022

Today (Dec. 29), the world said goodbye to an icon. According to the New York Post, Brazilian soccer star Pelé has died at the age of 82.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known professionally as Pelé, gained fame after leading his country’s national team to the World Cup victory in 1956. Doctors at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo declared him dead today after the athlete recently suffered health complications from colon cancer. Earlier this week, local physicians released a statement saying he was suffering from “kidney and cardiac dysfunctions.” Because of his condition, he spent nearly a month hospitalized before today’s grim announcement was made. Pelé was admitted on Nov. 29.

One of his daughters, Kely Nascimento, posted about the dire situation on Instagram during his time as a patient. “These moments are hard to explain. Sometimes it is a lot of sadness and despair; in other moments we laugh and speak about fun memories,” she wrote. “And what we learn the most from all of this is that we have to seek one another, hold each other tight. That’s the only way this is worth it. Everyone together,” Pelé’s daughter continued. The three-time World Cup winner is credited with making soccer popular in America. Clive Toye, the former general manager for the New York Cosmos, once said, “It really was ludicrous to think that Pelé, the greatest player of all, was going to end up playing for this ridiculous little team in New York drawing 1,500 people.”

Toye added, “But I told him don’t go to Italy, don’t go to Spain, all you can do is win a championship. Come to the U.S. and you can win a country.” In a past interview, Pelé revealed the impact his father had on his career. “My father used to say, men should be strong. Men [don’t] cry. Then I saw my father cry when Brazil lost the game,” he revealed. “Then I told him, ‘Father, don’t worry. I’m going to win a World Cup for you.’ … [Six] years later, I was in Sweden with Brazil and Brazil won the World Cup. I was 17 years old. That was a gift from God. I don’t know why I said it, why I promised it to my father,” the athlete recalled. Of Pelé’s many accomplishments, he was also crowned the minister of sports of Brazil.

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