Soccer icon Pelé, often called the greatest to ever play the game, has died at the age of 82.
His agent Joe Fraga confirmed his death with the Associated Press.
Pelé was receiving chemotherapy after having a colon tumor removed in September 2021. He was hospitalized earlier this month in his native Brazil, with doctors saying his cancer had advanced and that he was being placed in “elevated care” due to “kidney and cardiac dysfunctions.” Pelé’s family stayed with him in the hospital through the Christmas holiday.
Pelé — full name: Edson Arantes do Nascimento — began playing for the Brazilian national soccer team at age 16, winning three World Cup titles for his home country in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He set a record scoring a total of 77 goals for Brazil’s national team, a record later equaled by Neymar.
Pelé’s success made him a household name and the face of soccer worldwide, continuing to promote the sport after retiring from competitive play in 1977. He also co-starred with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine in the 1981 World War II soccer movie Victory. Pelé was named the greatest player ever in 2012 by soccer’s international governing body FIFA.