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Brazillian soccer legend Pelé dies after battle with cancer

Pele, the only player in history to win three World Cups, passed away at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo following a battle with cancer. He was 82. The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. The medical center where he had been hospitalized for the last month said he died of multiple organ failure as a result of the cancer. A message from Pele’s official Twitter account on Thursday read: “Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever.”

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, popularly known as Pele, was born on October 23, 1940, at Tres Coracoes, in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. He gained global superstardom after playing an important part in Brazil’s maiden FIFA World Cup triumph in 1958. Still a teenager, Pele fired in a hat-trick in the semi-final against France and followed it up with a brace in the final against Sweden to help the Selecaowin the first of their record five world titles. He was part of the team again that defended the title in 1962, before adding a third World Cup to his name in 1970, when Brazil famously defeated Italy in the final. He scored 12 goals in the World Cup during his career.

Pelé had been receiving treatment for cancer in recent years, and he entered the hospital several weeks ago for treatment of a variety of health issues, including a respiratory infection. A national hero in his native Brazil, Pelé was beloved around the world — by the very poor, among whom he was raised; the very rich, in whose circles he traveled; and just about everyone who ever saw him play. He won three World Cup tournaments with Brazil and 10 league titles with Santos, his club team, as well as the 1977 North American Soccer League championship with the New York Cosmos. Having come out of retirement at 34, he spent three seasons with the Cosmos on a crusade to popularize soccer in the United States. Before his final game, in October 1977 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Pelé took the microphone on a podium at the center of the field, his father and Muhammad Ali beside him, and exhorted a crowd of more than 75,000. Wherever football is played, the name of Pele will be synonymous with it.
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