Pelé died on Dec. 29, 2022, from complications related to his colon cancer.
Three-time World Cup champion, Pelé, died from colon cancer complications, according to an Instagram post from his daughter, Kely Nascimento. He was 82 years old.
Pelé was recently hospitalized for respiratory complications and colon cancer complications. The hospital later announced that the soccer star's cancer had progressed. His official cause of death was multiple organ failure due to colon cancer, according to Albert Einstein Hospital, the São Paulo center where he was treated.
“Everything that we are, is thanks to you,” Nascimento wrote in a post on Instagram, under an image of family members holding Pele’s hands. “We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
Pelé, whose birth name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, made his World Cup debut in 1958 when he was 17 years old. The Brazilian soccer player then went on to win three World Cups and become one of the most popular and successful players the game has ever seen, according to CNN.
Years after retiring, Pelé underwent surgery in September 2021 to remove a tumor from his colon.
“If I pass away one day, I am happy because I tried to do my best,” Pelé told "The Talks" online magazine. “My sport allowed me to do so much because it’s the biggest sport in the world.”
Online tributes are pouring in for the soccer star.
"Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who loved and admired him," former president Barack Obama tweeted.
Other tweets were posted from players like Christian Pulisic from the U.S. national team and Kylian Mbappe from the French national team.
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.