Brazilian Football Legend Pelé Dies at 82

After being hospitalized in November for a respiratory infection and multiple organ failures related to colon cancer, Brazilian soccer phenom Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, passed away on Thursday at the age of 82.

Brazilian Football Legend Pelé Dies at 82
Image credit: AFP/Getty Images [via NY Post]

Facts

  • After being hospitalized in November for a respiratory infection and multiple organ failures related to colon cancer, Brazilian soccer phenom Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé, passed away on Thursday at the age of 82.
  • Born in Sao Paolo, he was introduced to the world at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17, becoming the youngest player ever to play in the tournament. After scoring two goals in Brazil's 5-2 victory over the host country in the final, he was carried off the field on his teammates' shoulders.
  • The soccer star is known for being the only player to win the World Cup three times (1958, 1962, and 1970) and is credited with scoring 1,281 goals across 1,363 appearances over his 21-year career. For team Brazil, he scored 77 goals in 92 matches.
  • Pelé, dubbed the "The King" of football, became so popular that opposing forces of a civil war in Nigeria agreed to a cease-fire in 1967 so they could host an exhibition match. Fellow soccer phenom Cristiano Ronaldo said, "Pelé is the greatest player in football history, and there will only be one Pelé in the world."
  • Following his passing, his daughter Kely Nascimento, who had been keeping fans updated on his health status, posted a photo of Pelé's body with his family and included a statement that said, "Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace."
  • During and after his soccer career, Pelé served as an advocate for education, explored philanthropy, and pursued careers in government and music. He wrote many songs for which he never received credit because he "didn't want the public to make the comparison between Pelé the composer and Pelé the football player."

Sources: CNN, CBS, BBC News, and New York Times

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Washington Post. Pelé, who believed he was born for soccer, left more than a legacy in Brazil. He also left his mark on US soccer, a country to which he brought a sport that hadn't yet gained any national traction. He helped the game to infiltrate suburban parks, playgrounds, schools, and backyards, and his contribution led to FIFA awarding the 1994 World Cup hosting to the US where attendance records still stand today. Through the fame of the game, Pelé remained humble and continued to give his soul to a legacy that will forever stand.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Wrap. There is no doubt that Pelé will forever be regarded as one of the greatest athletes ever. Pelé held tremendous influence over Brazilians and worldwide fans during a time when Brazil suffered under military rule, though, unfortunately, he remained silent on issues he could've used his international megaphone for. Many Brazilians will remember him for exceptional talent on the pitch, but many others will remember him for his political neutrality — leaving a ding in the armor of a shining legacy.