The family of Pelé say the Brazilian soccer legend is hospitalized with a respiratory infection caused by COVID-19 but he is expected to be discharged.
“It is very unfair for people to say he is in the end of his life, in palliative care. Guys, that’s not true.," Flavia Nascimento, Pelé's daughter, said during an interview on TV Globo. "Believe us. He is not in intensive care, he is in a regular bedroom. He is not in risk, he is in treatment.”
Pelé underwent surgery to remove a cancerous colon tumor in September 2021. Brazilian newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported last week Pelé's cancer had worsened and he was placed into palliative care.
Nascimento family said the report was untrue but admitted her father is not yet in remission.
“He is sick, he is old. But at the moment, he is there because of the lung infection. And once he feels better, he will go home again,” Pelé's daughter Kely Nascimento said. "He is not saying goodbye in a hospital at the moment."
The 82-year-old is the greatest Brazilian soccer player of all time. His all-time scoring tally is debated across the sport, but the Guinness Book of World Records says he scored 1,279 goals over the course of his career.
Pelé scored a Brazilian record 77 goals during his international career and 680 goals during his club career. In 2000, FIFA named him Player of the Century alongside Diego Maradona.
Brazil won three World Cups during Pelé's career, and he won the event's Golden Ball in 1970.