Brazil legend Pele has passed away aged 82 following a battle with cancer.
Pele had been battling health issues in recent years. He was pictured in a wheelchair at the 2018 World Cup and was taken into hospital after collapsing due to exhaustion a month after the tournament.
He had been receiving regular treatment from doctors ever since undergoing surgery to have a tumour on his colon removed in September 2021, but had been readmitted to hospital towards the end of 2022. His condition failed to improve, with Pele remaining in hospital in Sao Paulo throughout the 2022 World Cup and then for Christmas, as his family confirmed.
Pele’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, had been providing regular updates on her father throughout the month with the world learning of his ill health, before his death was confirmed on December 29.
Pele made his debut for Santos in 1956 in what was the start of a career that would turn the game on its head. The Brazilian forward would revolutionise football with his style of play and rampant goal-scoring over the next 21 years, forging a legacy as one of the most talented players to ever grace a pitch and bringing forward a style that nobody had ever seen before.
He retired having won three World Cups – and currently remains the only player to do so – and is still Brazil’s top scorer with 77 goals from his 92 caps.
Pele reportedly scored over 1200 goals throughout his illustrious playing career, including friendlies and tours of the world, while inspiring the next generation of football with his undeniable talent and flair that was endlessly ahead of its time.