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Breaking: Brazilian soccer great Pelé dies at 82

Picture Courtesy: AP

Brazilian soccer player Pelé who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the last century, died Thursday. He was 82. His agent Joe Fraga confirmed his death.

Regarded as one of soccer’s greatest players, Pelé spent nearly two decades enchanting fans and dazzling opponents as the game’s most prolific scorer with Brazilian club Santos and the Brazil national team.

The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. He had been hospitalized for the last month with multiple ailments.

Pelé was Brazil’s first modern Black national hero but rarely spoke about racism in a country where the rich and powerful tend to hail from the white minority. Pelé’s life after soccer took many forms. He was a politician -- Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport -- a wealthy businessman, and an ambassador for UNESCO and the United Nations.

Pelé ended his career on Oct. 1, 1977, in an exhibition between the Cosmos and Santos before a crowd in New Jersey of some 77,000. He played half the game with each club. Among the dignitaries on hand was perhaps the only other athlete whose renown spanned the globe — Muhammad Ali.

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