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Pelé’s Daughters Speak Out After Reports Their Father Was Near-Death

The 80-year-old soccer legend is fighting COVID-19.

Over the weekend, multiple reports suggested that 80-year-old soccer legend Pelé was hospitalized and near death. His daughters are now speaking out.

According to CNN,  Pelé’s daughter, Kely Nascimento, said in a statement, “He is sick, he is old, but at the moment he is there because of a lung infection, and when he gets better he will go back home again. He is not saying goodbyes in the hospital at the moment.”

She also added that her father is fighting cancer, “Three weeks ago he had Covid. He is vaccinated with all doses but because of the cancer medication, the chemotherapy that makes him more fragile, he’s got a lung infection, and that is why he went to hospital.”

Flavia, his other daughter, said her father is not in the ICU, not terminal and is receiving treatment at Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pelé is fighting colon cancer, which was first identified in September 2021. The hospital said that  Pelé has shown “good response to the respiratory infection care, not showing any worsening of his condition in the last 24 hours.”

PHOTOS: Pelé’s Greatest Feats

Born on Oct. 23, 1940, Edson Arantes do Nascimento — better known as Pelé — he tried out for a professional soccer club at only 15 years old. After signing with the Santos professional soccer club, Pelé scored a goal — the first of his professional career — before turning 16. He was recruited for the Brazilian national team and as he continued his career was considered a national treasure. In the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Pelé scored four goals throughout the games. He won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and is the only player in history to have won the Men’s edition three times.

His professional career also saw him play for the New York Cosmos. He scored 1,281 goals in a total of 1,363 games, with his last professional appearance on Oct. 1, 1977. This was an exhibition game between the New York Cosmos and his previous team, Santos. Pelé’ played one half with each team before a sold out arena.

His humanitarian efforts with UNICEF earned him the International Peace Award in 1978. In 1999 he was voted by the International Olympic Committee as athlete of the century.

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