Soccer Icon Pelé Dead at 82: Anitta, Caetano Veloso & More Latin Artists React


Brazilian soccer icon Pelé died on Thursday (Dec. 29) in a hospital in São Paulo at age 82. He had been battling colon cancer since September 2021, and was hospitalized in November. News of his death was confirmed on his official Instagram page.

“Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pelé, who peacefully passed away today,” the caption reads. “On his journey, Edson enchanted the world with his genius in sport, stopped a war, carried out social works all over the world and spread what he most believed to be the cure for all our problems: love. His message today becomes a legacy for future generations. Love, love and love, forever.”

Regarded as one of fútbol’s greatest players of all time, Pelé (born Edson Arantes do Nascimento) went on to win three World Cup tournaments with his country’s national team, and 10 league titles with his local club Santos.

Pelé, the king of the “jogo bonito (beautiful game),” wasn’t just a star on the soccer field — he also loved music and even recorded a few songs during his time “for fun.” One of those was “Esperança,” which he released six years ago.

“I didn’t want the public to make the comparison between Pelé the composer and Pelé the football player,” he told The Guardian in 2006. “That would have been a huge injustice. In football, my talent was a gift from God. Music was just for fun.”

Following news that Pelé had died, Latin artists took to social media to mourn his death. Anitta posted a photo of Pelé in an Instagram Story and wrote, “R.I.P. King Pelé.” Former President Barack Obama also remembered Pelé, writing on Twitter, “Pelé was one of the greatest to ever play the beautiful game. And as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, he understood the power of sports to bring people together.”

See other reactions below:

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