Pelé, the Brazilian king of football who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died on December 30. He was 82.
The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. He had been hospitalized for the last month with multiple ailments.
Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was undergoing treatment, said he died at 3:27 p.m. "due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition."
The death of the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player was confirmed on his Instagram account.
Pele, whose given name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, joined Santos in 1956 and turned the small coastal club into one of the most famous names in football.
He took home three World Cup winner's medals, the first time as a 17-year-old in Sweden in 1958, the second in Chile four years later - even though he missed most of the tournament through injury - and the third in Mexico in 1970, when he led what is considered to be one of the greatest sides ever to play the game.
He retired from Santos in 1974 but a year later made a surprise comeback by signing a lucrative deal to join the New York Cosmos in the then nascent North American Soccer League. In a glorious 21-year career he scored 1,283 goals.