Pele Underwent Surgery to Remove Suspicious Tumor from His Colon

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 6, 2021

FILE - In this March 20, 2015 file photo, Brazilian soccer legend Pele smiles during a media opportunity at a restaurant in London. Rio's state legislature voted the second week of March 2021, to give Gov. Claudio Castro the authority to rename the historic Maracana stadium after Pele. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)
AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File

Football legend Pele posted on Instagram Monday that he had a colon tumor removed last Saturday.

"Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon," he wrote. "The tumor was identified during the tests I mentioned last week. Fortunately, I'm used to celebrating great victories alongside you. I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends."

That followed Pele's business manager Joe Fraga telling The Athletic that the 80-year-old was doing well despite being hospitalized for several days. 

"Full battery of tests/scans/colonoscopy/blood etc.," Fraga wrote. "He doesn't do everything in one day."

Pele tweeted last week that he was in good health amid reports he had fainted:

Pelé @Pele

Guys, I didn't faint and I'm in very good health. I went for my routine exams, which I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic. Let them know I don't play next Sunday! 👍🏽

Pele's son Edinho said in February 2020 that the legendary soccer star had become reclusive and didn't like to leave the house because of health concerns and issues with walking, but Pele denied those claims. 

"I am good," he said. "I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best way possible but I intend to keep the ball rolling. I have good days and bad days. That is normal for people of my age. I am not afraid, I am determined, confident in what I do."

Pele is the only player in footballing history to win three World Cups, doing so with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He scored 77 goals in 92 international appearances for his country to go along with a successful club career with Santos (1956-1974) and the New York Cosmos (1975-1977).

No debate over the best footballer in history is complete without a mention of Pele, who was the brightest star of his generation.