Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
The three-time World Cup winner spent Christmas in hospital as his cancer worsened, while he also required treatment for heart and kidney problems.
Pele’s family confirmed he died on Thursday afternoon at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo.
Statement on social media:
“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, 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.”
Kylian Mbappe was among those to swiftly pay tribute to the Brazilian, widely considered one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Tributes have been paid from the world of football and beyond after Brazilian icon Pele died aged 82.
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“The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten.” “RIP KING.”
England World Cup hero Sir Geoff Hurst posted:
“I have so many memories of Pele, without doubt the best footballer I ever played against (with Bobby Moore being the best footballer I ever played alongside).
“For me Pele remains the greatest of all time and I was proud to be on the the pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.”
“A Sporting Legend. Rest in Peace King Pele.”
“Pele has died. The most divine of footballers and joyous of men.
He played a game only a few chosen ones have come close to.
“3 times he lifted the most coveted gold trophy in that beautiful yellow shirt.
He may have left us but he’ll always have footballing immortality.”
“Before Pele, ‘10’ was only a number. I read this phrase somewhere, sometime in my life.
“But this phrase, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say that before Pele, football was solely a sport.
“Pele changed everything. He transformed football into art, into entertainment.
He gave voice to the poor, to black people, and most importantly: He gave visibility to Brazil.
“Football and Brazil elevated their status thanks to the King! He is gone, but his magic will stay.
“Pele is eternal!!”
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, became a global star when, aged 17.
He helped Brazil win the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, forcing his way into the starting line-up by the knockout stages.
Wherever football is played, the name of Pele will be synonymous with it.