Arguably the greatest soccer player of all time, Pelé, was admitted to Sao Paulo’s Hospital Albert Einstein on Wednesday according to his doctors. It is the second time in the past few months the three-time World Cup winner has been admitted for treatment on a tumor in his colon.
In September, doctors operated on the tumor. Pelé was hospitalized for the next month before being released to continue chemotherapy. And now he’s been admitted again, though the 81-year-old icon’s publicist told AFP, “He went in for chemo. He always has to go to the hospital for the treatment.”
His doctors said, “The patient is stable, and is expected to be released in the coming days.”
Pelé had prostate surgery in 2015, according to the BBC, and was admitted again in 2019 for a urinary infection. AFP notes that he has used a walker of late, and his public appearances have become “increasingly rare.”
A few weeks after his last stint in the hospital, Pelé took to social media to update fans and thank them.
“Friends, it’s been a while since we talked about this. I want to let you know that I’m fine,” he wrote. “I feel better every day. I don’t think even the mask for my protection can hide my happiness. Thank you very much to all of you who send me good energy daily.”
Amigos, faz algum tempo que não falamos disso. Eu quero avisar que estou muito bem. Me sinto cada dia melhor. Acho que nem mesmo a máscara para minha proteção consegue esconder a minha felicidade. Muito obrigado a todos vocês, que me mandam boas energias diariamente. pic.twitter.com/0K0lJkFC1i
Edson Arantes do Nascimento — that Pelé’s real name — is the only player to win three World Cups (in 1958, 1962 and 1970) and one of only four players who have scored goals in four World Cup tournaments. He scored more than 1,000 goals (or 750 goals, depending on who you ask) before retiring in 1977.