THE GOAT’S TRIBUTE: Pelé Dies At 82 After A Long Fight With Cancer

On Thursday night, football legend, Pelé, died at the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in Sao Paulo after a lengthy battle with colon cancer aged 82. Widely considered the greatest football player of all time, Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is lauded as a god-like figure in his native Brazil. On his passing, Christ the Redeemer—Brazil’s most significant monument—and the Maracana stadium were lit up in honour of the country’s biggest football icon, who led it to its first-ever World Cup in 1958, with many flooding the streets to Santos’s stadium to pay tribute to the King.

A career of relentless goalscoring began aged 15. By 17, Pelé was a World Cup winner. He would inspire Brazil to two more triumphs, in 1962 and 1970, becoming the only footballer in history to win football’s holy grail three times. By the end, he had amassed 1,279 goals in 1,363 games, which is recognised as a Guinness World Record though disputed by many because it includes friendly matches.

Pelé’s lengthy career was the subject of many public debates as some suggested he tarnished the purity of his footballing legacy through commercialism—he promoted everything from Coca-Cola to Viagra, making him one of the best-paid athletes of his era. This was an indication of just how colourful his life away from the pitch was. He married three times—the last when he was 75. He was survived by at least seven children by different mothers. But one thing that will remain undisputed till eternity is just how much influence he had, not only on teenage Brazilians but also on children all over the world looking to change their lives someday playing the round leather ball game.

A keen guitar player, Pele strums as he relaxes by the pool of the Brazil team hotel in Mexico during the 1970 World Cup

Wearing designer clothes and posing next to a Mercedes, Pele is pictured in 1966 at the peak of his footballing prominence

The 17-year-old star stares lovingly at the Jules Rimet Trophy after Brazil’s triumph in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip present a trophy to Pele at the Maracana on a state visit to Brazil and also Chile in 1968

Pictured with his second wife, Assiria Lemos Seixas,

Pele’s engagements also took him to the White House to meet President Richard Nixon,

Pele with Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone

Pele with his second wife Assiria Lemos Seixas and the FIFA president Sepp Blatter next to Andy Warhol’s portrait of him

Pele pictured with his first wife Rosemeri during a visit to London in 1973 – they would have three children together

Pele married for the third time at the age of 75 to Marcia Aoki, 41, in 2016 – they are pictured at the premiere of a film of his life

Pele holds the prize aloft after Brazil had won the 1962 World Cup, beating Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the final

Pele celebrates with Brazilian team-mate Jairzinho after scoring during the 1970 edition of the tournament

About Author /

Self-identifies as a middle child between millennials and the gen Z, began writing as a 14 year-old. Born and raised in Lagos where he would go on to obtain a degree in the University of Lagos, he mainly draws inspiration from societal issues and the ills within. His "live and let live" mantra shapes his thought process as he writes about lifestyle from a place of empathy and emotional intelligence. When he is not writing, he is very invested in football and sociopolitical commentary on social media.

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