Pelé passed away on Thursday in So Paulo. He was one of the greatest soccer players of all time and a pivotal figure in 20th-century sports who attained a degree of global renown few athletes have ever encountered. He was 82.
Joe Fraga, his manager, announced his passing. The growth of colon cancer, according to the Israelita Albert Einstein Hospital in So Paulo, was the cause of multiple organ failure.
In recent years, Pelé had undergone chemotherapy for cancer, and he had recently been admitted to the hospital for treatment of a number of ailments, including a respiratory infection.
Pelé, a national hero in his home Brazil, was adored by people all over the world, including the very poor with whom he was raised, the extremely rich with whom he associated, and pretty much everyone who ever watched him play.
Andy Warhol famously claimed, “Pelé is one of the few who disputed my thesis.” He will have 15 centuries of renown as opposed to 15 minutes.
Known for his unmatched skill and creativity on the field, Pelé (pronounced peh-LAY) also won over fans with his upbeat demeanour and his conviction that football, or soccer to most of the globe, had the ability to unite people regardless of race, class, or nationality.
Pelé became one of soccer’s greatest ambassadors in the nearly 50 years that followed his retirement and carried on his campaign to keep the “Beautiful Game” at the forefront of international sports. He collaborated with Brazilian artist Sergio Mendes on the soundtrack to a 1977 documentary on his life. He appeared in the soccer-related films Escape to Victory (1981) and Hotshot (1986). In addition to every major soccer-related honour imaginable, including the FIFA Order of Merit, FIFA Player of the Century, and a place on Time’s list of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, he was awarded an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth.