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Football icon Pele dies at 82

Pelé, the Brazilian and world football legend has died at the age of 82.

The three-times World Cup winner was admitted to a hospital in São Paulo in late November for a respiratory infection and for complications related to colon cancer.

Last week, the hospital said his health had worsened as his cancer progressed.

He died on Thursday from multiple organ failure due to the progression of colon cancer, according to a statement from Albert Einstein Hospital.

The world first got a glimpse of Pelé’s dazzling ability in 1958, when he made his World Cup debut aged 17.

He scored Brazil’s only goal in the country’s quarterfinal victory against Wales, then netted a hat-trick in the semifinal against France and two in the final against host Sweden.

Another World Cup victory came in 1962, although an injury sidelined Pelé for the tournament’s later stages.

Further injuries hampered his next campaign in 1966 as Brazil exited the competition after the group stage, but redemption came in 1970.

Pelé, who had considered retiring before the 1970 World Cup, scored a goal of his own in the final and a total of four over the course of the tournament.

The tournament capped Pelé’s World Cup career but not his time in the spotlight. In 1975, he signed a $1.67-million-a-year contract in the United States with the New York Cosmos.

He remained in the public eye through endorsement deals and as an outspoken political voice who championed the poor in Brazil.

He served as a Goodwill UNICEF ambassador for many years, promoting peace and support for vulnerable children.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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