Pelé left a “priceless” legacy after changing football with his “sporting prowess and genius,” the Brazilian great’s former club New York Cosmos said Thursday.
The death of the three-time world championship winner was confirmed by Israel’s Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo after he suffered multiple organ failure.
Pelé battled colon cancer until his passing, and his family traveled to be by his side in early December after he was placed on palliative care when his body stopped responding to treatment.
The 82-year-old has received numerous accolades from great athletes, clubs and organizations following his iconic career in Brazil and Santos.
He scored 643 goals in 659 matches in an 18-year span for Brazil’s Santos before representing Cosmos between 1975 and 1977.
New York Cosmos mourns the death of the legendary Pelehttps://t.co/l9OSG4aZx7
— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) December 29, 2022
“The New York Cosmos family, past and present, mourns the loss of sports icon Pele,” Cosmos, for whom the forward played in the North American Football League, said in a statement.
“In 1975, Pelé joined the New York Cosmos and helped popularize football in the United States. Oh Rey gave fans many legendary moments on the pitch, including winning the 1977 NASL Soccer Bowl.
“In his three seasons at Cosmos, Pelé helped change the football landscape domestically. Where once there were baseball diamonds, now there were football fields.
“Space and their king not only started the sports revolution in America, they also traveled the world to spread the gospel of the beautiful game, representing the world’s most global city in the global game, leaving a lasting sports legacy in India, China, and Japan where they visit remain a treasured part of local sports lore.
“His last match as a professional footballer was played on October 1, 1977, to a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium and to television viewers from all over the world.
“Pele has played one half for the two clubs he has ever represented: Santos and New York Cosmos. The name Pele will forever remain synonymous with sportsmanship and genius.
“His lasting impact on football is invaluable. Rest in peace, Ray.