As 2022 comes to a close, football fans all over the world are bereaving the loss of one of the greatest players to ever grace the field — Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé. The Brazilian football legend lost his battle with cancer and passed away on Thursday, December 29. He was 82.
Pelé was admitted to the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo on November 29. After exactly a month, the news of his passing was made public by his daughter, Kely Nascimento. She had been regularly sharing updates with the world about his progress in the hospital. On Thursday, she confirmed his death through a post on Instagram. She shared a photo showing the family holding Pelé’s hand. She captioned the post with a heartfelt message, “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
Pelé’s official Twitter account also confirmed the news in a Tweet that read, “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”
The legendary player’s funeral and burial will take place in his hometown, Santos. After the news of his death came in, the Brazilian government declared three days of mourning.
Pelé was the world’s only footballer to have won three World Cups — in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He won his first World Cup aged merely 17. Pelé scored 1279 goals in 1363 games, a feat that is recognized as a Guinness World Record.
World football’s governing body, FIFA, named Pelé the joint World Footballer of the Century along with Diego Maradona in 2000. At the same time, the International Olympic Committee named him its sportsperson of the century.
Pelé once famously said, “I was born to play football, just like Beethoven was born to write music and Michelangelo was born to paint.” These words echo in the heart of every football fan today as they grieve the passing away of the ‘King of Football.’