The family of Brazilian soccer legend Pelé has gathered at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo, where the 82-year-old has been since the end of November. Earlier this week, doctors revealed that Pelé's cancer had advanced and that he is under "elevated care" due to "kidney and cardiac dysfunctions." No further hospital statements have been released since.
One of Pelé's sons, Edson Cholbi Nascimento (also known as Edinho), arrived at the hospital on Saturday, a day after denying that he would visit his father in the hospital. Edinho, who works for a soccer club in southern Brazil, had stated that only doctors could help his father. However, Edinho later posted a picture on social media showing his hand holding his father's, with the caption "Dad... my strength is yours." Pelé's daughter Kely Nascimento also posted a picture on Instagram showing her sitting with Edinho and two of his children at the hospital, stating "I am not leaving, no one will take me out of here."
Pelé, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, had a colon tumor removed in September 2021. It is not known whether the tumor has spread to other organs, as neither the hospital nor the family have provided any information on this matter. Pelé's daughters Kely and Flavia Arantes do Nascimento used their social media channels to post an undated picture of Pelé apparently holding Kely with one hand as he lay on his hospital bed, and Flavia sleeping on a couch. Kely wrote, "We continue to be here, in this fight and with faith. Another night together."
The hospital has not mentioned any updates on Pelé's recent respiratory infection, which was exacerbated by COVID-19. Last weekend, newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported that Pelé's chemotherapy was not working and that doctors had decided to put him on palliative care, which was denied by the family.
Pelé is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, having led Brazil to victory in the 1958, 1962, and 1970 World Cups and scored 77 goals for the national team, a record that was recently tied by Neymar during the latest World Cup.