Pelé’s last hours: this is how Brazil mourns the king of the world

Colon cancer has caused the gradual failure of various organs of the former star. Santos has already set up a structure to host the vigil

Brazil and the world of football are in tears. The sky team gains a very noble reinforcement. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, born Pelé, O Rei, the Black Pearl, the God of all stadiums has died. He was 82 years old, had been in the hospital for a month. Yesterday, at 3.27 pm São Paulo time (7.27 pm Italian time), multiple organ failure was fatal for him, as a result of colon cancer.


The Brazilian, the only one to win three world titles (1958, 1962, 1970), had been hospitalized in Albert Einstein since 29 November. Since then, all of Brazil was next to him. The Seleçao during the World Cup had been rooting for the green and gold legend and in the country, knowing the seriousness of the clinical situation, for days they had already been ready for the worst. In recent years Pele had undergone many surgeries, suffering much more than when he played and took beatings from opposing defenders. In September 2021 he underwent colon surgery and had since undergone repeated sessions of chemotherapy. By early 2022, metastases had been detected in the intestines, lungs and liver. On December 21, the clinical staff of the Paulista hospital had released a medical statement stating that Pelé had a progression of the oncological disease and that he needed more treatment related to renal and cardiac dysfunction. For this reason he had not been allowed to spend Christmas at home, as his relatives wanted. Kely Cristina and Edinho, daughter and son of the King, in recent days had published photos with their father in the room where he was hospitalized. There were also the other children and grandchildren, united in sadness but still happy to be able to spend the last few hours all together.


On social media, the announcement of the death was given by Kely Cristina, who published a photo with the arms of the family holding the hands of the Santos idol in the hospital bed, probably in the last moments of life. So she greeted her father: “All that we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace,” she wrote. Kely is the fruit of Pelé’s first marriage, to Rosemari de Reis, which lasted from 1966 to 1978. During this period, the two had two more children, former goalkeeper and current coach Edinho and Jennifer. From 1994 to 2008 the King was married to Assíria Seixas Lemos, with whom he had Joshua and Celeste. He had been married to entrepreneur Márcia Aoki since 2016, but has not had any other children. Pelé also had Flavia Cristina and Sandra Regina Machado, the latter who also died in 2006 from a tumor and with whom O Rei did not have good relations. After having visits from his children and having the company of his family during the Christmas holidays, Pele was in for a nice surprise last Wednesday. Grandchildren Octavio Felinto Neto and Gabriel Arantes do Nascimento, sons of Sandra Regina Arantes Machado, went to the Albert Einstein hospital. Sandra Regina had long been waging a legal battle to be recognized as O Rei’s daughter. She died at the age of 42, after being hospitalized for treatment of metastases. On Instagram, Pelé’s grandson Octavio wrote a tribute to his grandfather, who had just met for the first time. “Everything is in God’s time! Everything has its appointed time, and there is time for every purpose under heaven. I thank God for giving me this moment, because it was what my mother dreamed of the most, there are things that some plant and other things that others harvest and we are harvesting. I thank those who have been happy for us, we are extremely happy and first of all I want to thank all my family, who have been extremely receptive and loving to us!!! Also the cheering and praying for our grandfather’s betterment. God bless you all and from now on it’s a new story!”.

The homage

O Rei’s family has not yet released details on the funeral home and the funeral, but in recent days a structure was set up to host the vigil in Vila Belmiro, the headquarters of Santos, the club of his life. The funeral will also be in Santos. In recent days, the team in which Pelé had grown up was already preparing a tribute to his most famous son. The new Santos shirt, in fact, alongside the two stars for the intercontinental titles won in 1962 and 1963, then recognized by Fifa on a par with the Club World Cup, will have three hearts, in Portuguese Três Corações, the name of the city in the State of Minas Gerais where Pele was born. The club statement says: “The boy of Três Corações, I say for Dondinho and Dona Celeste (parents of Pelé, ed), Bilé in homage to his childhood idol, Gasolina (petrol, ed) when he took the field in Vila Belmiro , who became the greatest. The 1,116 matches, the 1,091 goals, the 45 titles with the Santos shirt. This is how the world saw him born, grow and become an athlete of unparalleled numbers. A man with a story that will come told forever”. The society decreed mourning with the flag at half-mast for seven days. For the same period, the municipality of Santos did so. Pelé’s family will ask Santos to retire the number 10 shirt, immortalized by the King.

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Pelé’s last hours: this is how Brazil mourns the king of the world

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