Brazilian soccer legend Pelé dies in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo hospital officials confirmed that the football icon and three-time World Cup winner Pelé had passed away.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento died at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil today, after a long battle with colon cancer. He was 82.

The whole world knew him under the name Pelé.

Pelé was admitted to the hospital at the end of November and in earlier in December the doctors had announced that the cancer was progressing.

Today, hospital officials confirmed that the football icon and three-time World Cup winner had passed away.

A prolific goal scorer during his playing days, Pelé is regarded by many as among the finest footballers – if not the finest – of all time.

During his career, Pelé scored 1289 goals in 1363 matches.

Pelé spent most of his club career at Santos in Brazil, debuting for the coastal club in Sao Paulo state as a 15-year-old in 1956.

He would leave the team as a six-time Brazilian league winner and two-time continental and world champion in 1974.

He was revered in his Brazilian homeland ever since winning the first of his three World Cups aged just 17 at the 1958 edition of the tournament in Sweden.

Pelé graced the competition with six goals in total, including a hat-trick in the semifinal against France and a double against hosts Sweden in the final. 

Pelé and Brazil would follow that up with success at the 1962 World Cup in Chile, where he was forced to miss much of the tournament due to injury.

Pelé tasted World Cup glory again with the imperious Brazil team which won the title in Mexico in 1970.  

He retired from the Brazilian national team in 1971, having scored 77 goals in 92 games – a record matched only recently by Neymar.  

Pelé finished his club career at the New York Cosmos in 1977.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized Pele as the best football player of the 20th century, although he never participated in the Olympics.

In his post-playing days, Pele was appointed a UN ambassador for ecology and the environment in 1992 and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in 1994.

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