“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning” – Pelé

The all-time goalscoring leader of the Seleçao was receiving end-of-life care since the early morning of December 3rd. He had been battling colon cancer over the last two years and had tumors removed in September 2021. He was unresponsive to treatments over the last couple of days and passed away peacefully earlier today.


A household name in North America, he was the great superstar of the New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League during the 1970s, scoring 37 goals in only 64 games. He famously joined the team in 1975 with much fanfare and revolutionized how soccer was perceived in North America from that point on.

Photo credit: 1975 Robert Riger, Getty Images

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé made his professional debut with Santos in the Brazilian top division at 15. He proceeded to score 643 goals in 659 games and has earned the reputation of being the most prolific goal scorer of all time with an unconfirmed 1292 goals scored according to experts in his homeland of Brazil.

Pelé playing for Santos. Credit Getty Images

Pelé won the FIFA World Cup three times in his career with La Seleçao, the nickname of the Brazilian Men’s national team, in 1958, 1962, and 1970. He scored 12 goals in 14 games, for an impressive 0.86 goals per game average. He also participated in the 1966 World Cup, where Brazil was eliminated in the Group Stage.

He has been a United Nations ambassador for ecology and the environment since 1992, helping raise awareness among children of all nations.

Pele in 1999 at a UN press conference with Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary-General. Archive Getty Images.

He was the father of seven children, Edinho being the most famous. He played as a goalkeeper for Santos and is now the manager of Londrina in the Brazilian second division (Serie B).

Edinho, Pelé’s eldest son, manager of Londrina. Credit: Londrina Esporte Clube

More details to come.


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