STORY: Pele, the legendary Brazilian soccer player who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest athletes in modern history, died on Thursday at the age of 82.
Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was undergoing treatment, said his death was (quote) "due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition."
His official Instagram account confirmed the news, adding that he (quote):
"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."
Pele was the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player, and in a glorious 21-year career he scored a grand total of 1,283 goals.
Tributes poured in from across the worlds of sport, politics and popular culture…
French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter: "The game. The king. Eternity."
Kylian Mbappé, the French star many view as the current best soccer player in the world, offered his condolences, posting on Twitter
"The king of football has left us but his legacy will never be forgotten, RIP KING."
BIOLOGIST AND SOCCER FAN, CIRO CAMPOS:“I’m saddened but also proud of being Brazilian, the country of Pele, who was a great athlete and also off the field he was a great person. He wasn’t an arrogant athlete. He was a person that makes one feel proud of being Brazilian.”
Pele, though, transcended soccer, like no player before or since, and he became one of the first global icons of the 20th century.
With his winning smile and an aw-shucks humility that charmed legions of fans, he was better known than many Hollywood stars, popes or presidents – many if not most of whom he met during a six-decade-long career as player and corporate pitchman.