Pelé, the Brazilian soccer player known as “The King” and widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport’s history, died on Thursday at the age of 82. Pelé had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer and had been hospitalized for the past month due to multiple ailments.
Throughout his career, Pelé played for Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team, and is known for his grace, athleticism, and mesmerizing moves on the field. He helped Brazil win three World Cups and is often mentioned alongside Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest players of all time.
Pelé’s goal total is listed anywhere between 650 (league matches) and 1,281 (all senior matches, some against low-level competition) depending on the source and the games counted. In addition to his soccer career, Pelé also pursued various roles in politics, business, and entertainment, including serving as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport, an ambassador for UNESCO and the United Nations, and appearing in movies, soap operas, and recording CDs of popular Brazilian music.
Despite facing racism throughout his career, Pelé became Brazil’s first modern Black national hero and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.