Pelé, the Brazilian king of soccer who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died Thursday at the age of 82 years.
The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. He had been hospitalized for the last month with multiple ailments.
His agent Joe Fraga confirmed his death.
Widely regarded as one of soccer’s greatest players, Pelé spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents as the game’s most prolific scorer with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team.
His grace, athleticism and mesmerizing moves transfixed players and fans. He orchestrated a fast, fluid style that revolutionized the sport — a samba-like flair that personified his country’s elegance on the field.
He carried Brazil to soccer’s heights and became a global ambassador for his sport in a journey that began on the streets of Sao Paulo state, where he would kick a sock stuffed with newspapers or rags.
In the conversation about soccer’s greatest players, only the late Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are mentioned alongside Pelé.
Different sources, counting different sets of games, list Pelé’s goal totals anywhere between 650 (league matches) and 1,281 (all senior matches, some against low-level competition.)
The legendary boxer remembered that he was 21 years old when he fulfilled his dream of meeting one of the great athletes that the world has ever seen.
“I was 21 years old living the dream meeting one of the greats. He was a warm kind man without a bad thing to say about anyone. Rest in Peace.”
Mike Tyson had recently talked about Pele in his podcastRecently in an episode of his podcast, Hotboxin with MIke Tyson, the former boxer praised Pele as one of the all time greats in soccer.
Snoop Dogg agreed with the assessment and added that Pele should be talked in the same breath as other historic athletes like Muhammad Ali.
“There’s Ali, Pele. He up there will Ali, man. That’s Pele, man, knock it of”, the rapper expressed.