Brazilian football great Pele posted on Instagram on Saturday night to say he felt ‘strong’ and ‘hopeful’, after a wave of concern online in response to unconfirmed reports that he had been moved into care palliatives.
“I want everyone to stay calm and positive,” Pele wrote, sharing the latest medical report from Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo which says he remains in stable condition. “I’m on my treatment as usual.”
Pelé, 82, who helped the Brazilian national team win three World Cups, ended his message by calling on fans to watch the Selection participate in this year’s tournament. Brazil will face South Korea in Doha on Monday.
Earlier, the hospital said Pele remained in stable condition after being hospitalized this week while battling colon cancer. He also responded well to treatment for a respiratory infection and his condition has not worsened in the past 24 hours, medical staff said. He was admitted to hospital on Tuesday to reevaluate his cancer treatment.
On Saturday morning, Brazilian newspaper Folha de S Paulo reported that Pele was receiving palliative care after he stopped responding to chemotherapy treatment for cancer.
According to the newspaper, chemotherapy has now been put on hold and Pele is receiving end-of-life care, only being treated for symptoms including pain and shortness of breath.
Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo declined to confirm reports that the soccer legend known as The King is in palliative care and said it would only communicate through official bulletins. A medical report released on Friday said Pele was being treated with antibiotics for a respiratory infection. His condition was “stable, with general improvement in his condition”, the report said.
Football stars past and present, including French striker Kylian Mbappé, have wished Pele well on social media following reports that he was receiving palliative care. “Pray for the king,” Mbappé tweeted.
Pele had sought to reassure fans in an Instagram post on Thursday, saying he was making his “monthly visit” to the hospital. He posted a picture of a building in Qatar lit up with a message wishing him a speedy recovery and thanked the World Cup host nation for the “tribute”.
His daughter, Kely Nascimento, who is in Qatar for the tournament, also sought to allay concerns over the soccer legend’s health. “The media is panicking again,” she said on social media on Thursday, adding that her siblings were with their father and that Pelé’s health did not require him to jump on a plane to return to Brazil. .
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, Pelé is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time. He rose to international fame aged just 17 when he scored six goals for Brazil at the 1958 World Cup, including two in the final in which Brazil beat hosts Sweden to win his first world title.
Pelé, who retired from football in 1977, has suffered from health problems for some years. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in September 2021 and spent two weeks in hospital last December.