Soccer Legend Pelé Dead at 82

Pelé, a three-time World Cup winner, has died at age 82. Learn more about the soccer star’s passing after leading a legendary career in the sport.

By Kelly Gilmore Dec 29, 2022 7:24 PMTags
Watch: Soccer Legend Pele Dead at 82

The world of soccer has lost a legend.

Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, has died at the age of 82 on Dec. 29. 

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, confirmed their family's loss in a heartbreaking tribute. "Everything we are is because of you," she wrote alongside a photo of hands surrounding the athlete shared to Instagram. "We love you infinitely. Rest in peace."

Shortly after, fellow athlete also paid tribute to Pelé, including soccer star Kylian Mbappé, who wrote, "The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten," alongside an Instagram snap of the two, adding, "RIP KING."

Former President Barack Obama shared a tribute reading, "Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone who loved and admired him."

Celebrity Deaths: 2022's Fallen Stars

News of his passing comes after the Associated Press reported that the globally renowned athlete's cancer had worsened on Dec. 21, and that he was receiving "elevated care" for "kidney and cardiac dysfunctions" at The Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil—where he was initially admitted to regulate his cancer medication.

Per the outlet, Pelé had been doing chemotherapy after getting a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Amid Pelé's hospitalization, Kely updated fans on his status and their holiday plans.

Getty Images

"Insta family, our Christmas at home has been suspended," Kely wrote in a Dec. 21 Instagram post. "We decided with the doctors that, for various reasons, it would be better for us to stay here with all the care that this new family at Einstein gives us!! Your love for him and your stories and prayers are a HUGE comfort because we know we are not alone."

Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

Indeed, love for the athlete is something that was demonstrated by fans both and off the field in the wake of his medical issues.

Pelé was honored with tributes in Qatar during the 2022 FIFA World Cup—an experience he knew well as a three-time World Cup winner himself. Pelé took home the win in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

During the sporting event, Brazil's fans honored the athlete by holding up a massive banner with a photo of Pelé on it and a message that read, "Pelé Get Well Soon." The same message was also displayed in lights on two buildings.

Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

The touching gesture on the buildings was not missed by the soccer star, as he took to Instagram Dec. 1 to write, "Friends I'm at the hospital doing my monthly check up Always nice to get positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to all who send me good vibes!"

Throughout his career, Pelé garnered many accomplishments, including scoring 12 goals in World Cup play, according to ESPN. And in 1999, he was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee, per the outlet.

Pelé not only left behind a legacy of love for the sport, but also a love for the connections he made along the way—something he reflected on in a message shared to Instagram earlier this year.

"Of course I miss playing football, but I miss even more the hug after scoring a goal, the celebration with the team and the laughter with friends," he wrote in August. "The joy of doing what you love with people who are also passionate about what they do is indescribable."

For the latest breaking news updates, click here to download the E! News App