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Soccer Icon Pelé Hospitalized in Brazil; Daughter Says 'No Emergency'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVNovember 30, 2022

Pelé
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File

Brazilian football legend Pelé was reportedly hospitalized Tuesday in Brazil with heart problems, swelling throughout his body and other health issues.

ESPN's Pedro Ivo Almeida reported Wednesday (via Rich Jones of the Daily Mirror) that Pelé has been undergoing chemotherapy since last September and regularly visits the hospital for medical checkups, but Tuesday's admittance was unscheduled.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, posted a statement on Instagram (h/t Reuters' Gabriel Araujo and Eduardo Simões) in the wake of the news reports.

"Lots of alarm in the media today concerning my dad's health," she wrote. "He is in the hospital regulating medication. Some of my siblings are visiting Brazil. There is [no] emergency or new dire prediction. I will be there for New Years and promise to post some pictures."

Pelé has been hospitalized multiple times in recent years because of medical problems, including the cancer treatment and a 2019 procedure to remove kidney stones after a urinary tract infection.

His son, Edinho, told Brazilian outlet TV Globo in 2020 (via Sky Sports) his father was struggling with mobility because of lingering problems related to a 2012 hip operation.

"He's embarrassed, he doesn't want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house," Edinho said. "He is very sheepish, reclusive."

Pelé is one of the greatest footballers in history after a decorated career both with Brazil's national team and at the club level with Santos and the New York Cosmos before his 1977 retirement.

The 82-year-old icon still holds the all-time record for most goals scored for Brazil's men's team with 77, two ahead of current-day superstar Neymar, who's currently competing for the Canarinho in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Pelé led the Brazilians to World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

His post-playing career included a stint as his home country's Minister of Sports from 1995 through 1998.