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25th Dec 2022

Pelé’s family spending Christmas in hospital after football legend’s cancer progresses

Steve Hopkins

‘I will not be leaving, nobody will take me out of here.’

Pele’s family are heartbreakingly spending Christmas Day in hospital after the Brazilian football legend’s cancer progressed.

A medical report earlier this week showed that the 82-year-old now needed care for cardiac and renal dysfunction.

Pele – whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento – has been battling colon cancer since September 2021. He was admitted to Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paul on 29 November.

The footballer, regarded as one of the greatest of all time, will have his family by his side during the festive period, his daughter has said.

Kely Nascimento wrote on Instagram: “I will not be leaving, nobody will take me out of here.”

She wrote the caption alongside a picture of her sitting next to one of Pele’s sons, Edinho, and two of his children.

The former Santos FC star’s cancer battle, and earlier news suggesting he was now receiving end-of-life care, sparked an outpouring of support for the legend at the Qatar World Cup.

The Brazilian team and fans alike displayed their support for the icon.

Brazil were knocked out of the tournament by Croatia, on penalties. The country has won the world cup five times, first in 1958 when Pele took to the field aged just 17.

Pele scored 77 times in 92 games for Brazil and won three World Cups. For his Brazilian club, Santos, he scored 643 goals in 659 official matches in a glittering 20-year career from 1957 to 1977.

After news that Pele was receiving end-of-life care, the player released a statement saying that “I am strong, with a lot of hope”.

In an Instagram post, the former footballer wrote: “My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive. I’m strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual.

“I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I have received.

“I have a lot of faith in God and every message of love I receive from you all over the world keeps me full of energy. And watch Brazil in the World Cup too!

“Thank you so much for everything.”

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