In a moving tribute to the man who made football 'the beautiful game', his family put out a message that summed up his life on his official Twitter handle on Thursday morning local time, announcing his death.
"Inspiration and love marked the journey of King Pele, who peacefully passed away today. Love, love and love, forever."
Pele's daughter, Kelly Nascimento, posted a social media update where she shared a picture of her along with members of her family, and wrote: "We have to look out for each other, and hold tight."
The news of Pele's passing came after reports claiming that the condition of the football legend had worsened in recent days and he was put under "elevated care" related to "kidney and cardiac dysfunctions".
Tributes pour in
In other tribute, Manchester United tweeted: "Rest in peace, Pele. Thank you for the joy you brought to football fans around the world."
Unesco, which Pele had been representing since 1994 as the Champion for Sport, tweeted: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pele. We extend our condolences to the Brazilian people and the football family. @Pele was @UNESCO Champion for Sport since 1994 and worked relentlessly to promote sport as a tool for peace. He will be greatly missed."
The Three Lions posted a throwback picture of a bromantic moment between a shirtless Pele and an equally shirtless George Best tweeted: "One of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game. Farewell, Pele. You will never be forgotten."
The sports world on Thursday reacted with sadness to the passing away of Pele, Brazil's legendary player and three-time World Cup winner, paying rich tributes to the man known as The King.
"Gracias por todo lo que le diste al mundo del futbol. Rip legend #Pele (Rough translation: Thank you for everything you gave to the world of football. Rip legend)," tweeted former Argentine great Gabriel Batistuta.
"Rest in peace Pele, one of the greatest ever. What a role model on and off the pitch. Winner of 3 World Cups, unbelievable," wrote England football Harry Maguire on his Twitter handle.
"RIP to one of the greatest players of all time!" said former England footballer Robbie Fowler.
Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag termed him as a magician on the field and the greatest sportsperson to grace the planet.
"A Magician on the field and one of the greatest sportspersons to have graced the planet. Heartfelt condolences to his family and well-wishers all around the world. #Pele," Sehwag wrote.
Another Indian cricketer, V.V.S. Laxman, too paid his tributes to the departed soul.
"End of an Era. Some sportspersons leave a mark which inspires generations. The great Pele's legacy and achievements will be cherished by many generations to come. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and fans. #Pele," said Laxman on Twitter.
Indian football club Mohun Bagan, whose team played Pele's New York Cosmos in an exhibition match on September 24, 1977 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, too paid its tributes to the legend.
"The King is Still Alive in Our Hearts! Adios King of Football! #Pele," Bagan said on its official social media account.
The only footballer to lift three FIFA World Cup titles (in 1958, 1962 and 1970), Pele, whose real name was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, rose from the impoverished bylanes of Sao Paulo, Brazil, to become the world's most recognised football player, considered by many as the greatest to have ever graced the game.
Pele's life and final days
Married thrice, Pele is survived by two sons -- Edinho, a professional footballer (goalkeeper), and Joshua -- and his daughters -- Kelly Cristina, Flavia Kurtz and Celeste, His daughter, Sandra Regina Arantes do Nascimento, who won a long legal battle to have the former football player recognised as her father, died from cancer in 2006 aged 42.
Pele spent the last month of his life at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, battling complications arising from advancing cancer.
The 82-year-old had earlier had a colon tumour removed in September 2021 and neither his family, nor doctors, specified whether it had spread to other organs. He was stable after surgery but had to return to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) a few weeks later following respiratory instability.
He was admitted to the hospital on November 29 for a reassessment of the treatment. However, a few days later, he was diagnosed with a respiratory infection and was receiving the necessary care.