Pele, the legendary Brazilian football player who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history, has died at the age of 82.
Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was undergoing treatment, said he died at 3:27pm (18:27 GMT) on Thursday “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition.”
The death of the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player was confirmed on his Instagram account.
“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today,” the post read.
Pele, whose real name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was remembered for his wide-ranging accomplishments, both on and off the football field. The memorial post on Pele’s social media page highlighted the star’s international appeal, referencing an incident during the Nigerian civil war when opposing factions agreed to a ceasefire in order to enjoy a match Pele played in the country.
“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,” it read.
A public funeral is set to be held outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the Vila Belmiro Stadium, where he played for many years with the Santos football club. The casket is set to pass in front of the house of his 100-year-old mother, Celeste Arantes, before being placed in the center of the field.