World pays hommage to Brazilian 'king of football' Pelé

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Pelé, the legendary Brazilian soccer player who rose from barefoot poverty to become one of the greatest and best-known athletes in modern history, has died at the age of 82.

Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, where Pelé was undergoing treatment, said he died at 3:27pm on Thursday due to "multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition."

The death of the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player was confirmed on his Instagram account.

"Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today," it read, adding he had "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."

World pays tribute

Tributes poured in from across the worlds of sport, politics and popular culture for a figure who epitomized Brazil's dominance of the beautiful game.

The out-going government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro declared three days of national mourning. Bolsonaro said in a statement that Pelé was "a great citizen and patriot, raising the name of Brazil wherever he went."

Bolsonaro's successor, President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, wrote on Twitter that "few Brazilians carried the name of our country as far as he did."

French President Emmanuel Macron said Pelé's legacy would live forever. "The game. The king. Eternity," Macron tweeted.

Nation in mourning


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