Pele’s cancer worsens as footballer endures ‘kidney and heart dysfunction’

SAO PAULO — Pele’s condition deteriorated while he was in hospital to get his cancer medications regularized, doctors said Wednesday.

Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo said in a statement on Wednesday that Pele’s cancer had progressed and the 82-year-old Brazilian footballer was under “intensive care” related to “kidney and heart dysfunction”.

A fan displays a sign in support of Pele at a Brazilian fan party at the recent World Cup.

The hospital did not mention any signs of the three-time World Cup winner’s recent respiratory infection, which was aggravated by COVID-19.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known to the world as Pelé, has been undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer since having a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Neither his family nor the hospital have said whether it had spread to other organs.

Kely Nascimento, one of his daughters, said Pelé would remain in hospital over Christmas.

“We have decided with doctors that for many reasons it would be best for us to stay here, with all the care that this new Einstein family gives us,” she wrote on Instagram. “We’re even going to make caipirinhas (no kidding). We love you and will give an update next week.

The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported on Saturday that Pelé’s chemotherapy was not working and doctors had decided to put him in hospice care. Pelé’s family denied this information. The Associated Press could not confirm the newspaper’s information.

Pelé led Brazil to victory at the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains one of the top scorers in team history with 77 goals. Neymar equaled Pelé’s record at the last World Cup.

Several tributes and wishes for recovery were paid to the former footballer during the Qatar tournament, won by Argentina on Sunday.


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