Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 December 2022:
Pele, the Brazillian football legend passed away peacefully in his sleep in hospital in Brazil yesterday – 29th December 2022, after losing a long battle with cancer, aged 82.
The hospital released a statement which read: “The Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein regretfully confirms the death of Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pele, today, December 29, 2022, at 3:27 pm, due to the failure of multiple organs, a result of the progression of cancer of colon associated with his previous clinical condition. Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein sympathises with the family and everyone who suffers from the loss of our dear King of Football.”
Making his first appearance on the world stage at age 17 in 1958 – the youngest player to ever grace the World Cup footbal tournament, Pele went on to set a world record which is yet to be beaten, after lifting the World Cup three times.
The Black Brazilian Star scored over 1,200 goals during his career – another world record yet to be beaten.
Pele not only transformed football into the sport that it is today with his brilliance and flair, but is responsible for putting Brazil on the Global map as a nation whose samba music and street carnival remain top of the world’s culture.
Pele was born on 23rd October, 1940 in Três Corações, in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
In 1967 Pele and his Brazilian team went to Nigeria during the nation’s civil war, as fighting was suspended for 48 hours so that people could watch the world’s greatest footballer play the beautiful game.
Paying tribute, his daughter – Kely Nascimento simply said: “We are thankful to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.”
Pele – whose official name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento – came from a poor family. He began playing for Brazil’s best football team – Santos at the age of 15 and the Brazilian national team a year later, winning three World Cups – in 1958, 1962 and 1970 – the only player in the world to have achieved this.
Sir Geoff Hurst, who in 1966 helped England lift the World Cup for the first and only time, said yesterday, that: Pele “remains the greatest of all time. 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 pitch with him. RIP Pele and thank you.”
Pele’s official Instagram account said: Pele “enchanted the world. Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, 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.”
2022 World Cup finalist, and winner in 2018, the French Black footballer Kylian Mbappe – who himself is today one of the top three footballers in the world – alongside Messi and Ronaldo, said: “The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP King.”
Brazil’s Neymar wrote: “Before Pele, 10 was just a number. I’ve read this phrase somewhere, at some point in my life.
“But this sentence, beautiful, is incomplete. I would say before Pele football was just a sport. Pele has changed it all. He turned football into art, into entertainment.
“He gave voice to the poor, to the blacks and especially: He gave visibility to Brazil. Soccer and Brazil have raised their status thanks to the King! He’s gone but his magic remains. Pele is FOREVER!!”
Cristiano Ronaldo said on social media: “My deep condolences to all of Brazil, and in particular to the family of Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
“A mere ‘goodbye’ to the eternal King Pele will never be enough to express the pain that the entire football world is currently embracing.
“An inspiration to so many millions, a reference yesterday, today and forever. The love you always showed me was reciprocated in every moment we shared even from distance.
“He will never be forgotten, and his memory will live forever in each and every one of us football lovers. Rest in peace King Pele.”
Lionel Messi’s tribute simply reads: “Rest in peace Pele.”
The government of Brazil has declared three days of national mourning for the World’s football superstar, whose memory and legacy will live on forever.