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Pele’s daughters have insisted the football icon “is not saying goodbye” as he receives treatment for a lung infection.
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The legendary sportsman has been battling colon cancer and was admitted to the Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Sao Paulo, Brazil with reports over the weekend suggesting he’s been placed on end of life care but his daughters have spoken out to clarify he’s actually being treated for a respiratory infection that was aggravated by COVID-19.
Pele’s daughter Kely told Fantastico: “About three weeks ago he got COVID. He is vaccinated, with all the vaccines, but because of the cancer medicine, the chemotherapy, which is fragile, he got a lung infection.
“That’s why he went to the hospital, because of the lung infection. Is he serious? It’s serious, because he’s a certain age, he’s treating cancer.”
His other daughter Flavia explained the 82-year-old is not in an intensive care ward, adding: “At the hospital, he is better assisted. But he’s not in the ICU, he’s in a normal room. So he’s not at risk. As a person with a more delicate health, it is better to be in the hospital.”
Flavia added of the rumours suggesting Pele is receiving palliative care: “It’s not that. Believe us. More than anyone else, we don’t want that moment to come. Of course, one day it will happen, but it’s not now, you don’t need to be in that alarm anticipating a situation that doesn’t exist now … ”
Kely went on to insist her father will go home from the hospital when he’s better, declaring: “We are not rushing there to say goodbye. We’re taking turns, he’s sick, he’s old, but he’s there because of a lung infection. He’s on antibiotics and when he gets better he’ll go home again. He’s not saying goodbye at the hospital.”
Pele underwent surgery to remove a tumour from his colon in 2021 but this year was told the cancer cells had spread to his intestine, lung and liver.
After his admission to hospital last week, Pele released a statement thanking fans for their well wishes. In the message posted on his social media pages, Pele said: “My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive. “I’m strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual. I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I have received. “I have a lot of faith in God and every message of love I receive from you all over the world keeps me full of energy. And watch Brazil in the World Cup too! “Thank you so much for everything.”
The soccer star scored 757 goals in 831 games during a glittering career from 1957 to 1977, but Brazilian football club Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000.