BREAKING: Brazilian King of Soccer Pelé Dies at 82
The world of soccer has been forever changed by the passing of a titan. Pelé, a Brazilian soccer star whose
The world of soccer has been forever changed by the passing of a titan. Pelé, a Brazilian soccer star whose name has become synonymous with World Cup success, has died at the age of 82.
Pelé Passes Away, Leaving Behind a Mammoth Legacy
AP reports, “The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. He had been hospitalized for the last month with multiple ailments.
His agent Joe Fraga confirmed his death.
Widely regarded as one of soccer’s greatest players, Pelé spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents as the game’s most prolific scorer with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team.
His grace, athleticism and mesmerizing moves transfixed players and fans. He orchestrated a fast, fluid style that revolutionized the sport — a samba-like flair that personified his country’s elegance on the field.
He carried Brazil to soccer’s heights and became a global ambassador for his sport in a journey that began on the streets of Sao Paulo state, where he would kick a sock stuffed with newspapers or rags.”
The star is nearly alone at the top of soccer’s list of greats, only Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi coming close.
Pelé first appeared before the world at the World Cup in Sweden in 1958 at the age of 17.
He helped lead Brazil to victory in a 5-2 game over Sweden in the final.
Pelé’s Past Made Him Remarkable, His Skills Made Him Extraordinary
The soccer star soon became a legend the world over as his career soared to extraordinary heights. People around the world donned his iconic “No.10” yellow jersey and spoke of his skill on the pitch.
AP writes, “Pelé’s fame was such that in 1967 factions of a civil war in Nigeria agreed to a brief cease-fire so he could play an exhibition match in the country. He was knighted by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II in 1997. When he visited Washington to help popularize the game in North America, it was the U.S. president who stuck out his hand first.
‘My name is Ronald Reagan, I’m the president of the United States of America,’ the host said to his visitor. ‘But you don’t need to introduce yourself because everyone knows who Pelé is.’”
But it wasn’t all rainbows and roses for the star, who was the first major Black sports star in a country still grappling with racism in the late 1900’s. Pelé would often face racist epithets and monkey chants when he played, but it didn’t stop his momentum.
Angelica Basthi, a biographer who wrote of the star’s life, said, “He said that he would never play if he had to stop every time he heard those chants. He is key for Black people’s pride in Brazil, but never wanted to be a flagbearer.”
Pelé’s fame extended off the pitch as well, where he dabbled in politics, business, and served as ambassador for UNESCO and the United Nations.
By the time he retired, Pelé won a record three World Cups and was cemented as not just one of soccer’s greatest stars, but one of the greatest sports figures of the last century.