Brazil football grandfather Pele has lost a long battle to cancer and gave up the ghost at 82.
The football legend, regarded as one of the best players ever to play the game and a winner of three World Cups, had been battling cancer for several years.
The former striker died at Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, with his daughter Kely Nascimento confirming his death on Thursday evening National Daily learnt.
The sports icon had a tumour removed from his colon in September 2021 and has been in and out of the hospital for regular treatment since then.
He spent his last moments gathered by his family, who remained by his bedside over the Christmas period.
‘Everything we are is because of you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,’ a message from his daughter shared on Instagram read.
A message shared through Pele’s personal Twitter account said: ‘Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today.
‘On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love.
‘His message today becomes a legacy for future generations.
‘Love, love and love, forever.’
Pele, full name Edson Arantes do Nascimento, made his club debut for Santos at the age of 15, scoring 643 goals in 659 appearances during a golden era for the club.
The international level, Pele was an iconic figure of the game in the 1950s and 1960s and remains the only player to have won three World Cups, scoring 77 goals in 91 appearances for the national team.
His record of 1279 goals in 1363 appearances in all games, including friendlies, is recognized as a Guinness World Record.