ALERT: One of the True Greats in Sports Has Died

( – BREAKING NOW: Pelé, one of the greatest athletes and soccer players of all time, passed away today at the age of 82.

The National Review writes:

Pelé, the Brazilian soccer star, died Thursday at the age of 82 after a long battle with colon cancer.

“The legendary athlete’s health had deteriorated seriously over the holidays. He was in the hospital on Christmas, receiving treatment for cardiac and renal dysfunction.

“Pelé’s daughter Kely Nascimento announced her father’s passing in a social-media statement: “Everything we are is thanks to you. We love you infinitely. Rest in peace.” On Christmas Eve, she posted a picture of her hugging Pelé in a hospital bed, where he continued to fight for his life against the disease.” [emphasis added]

He was a force of nature at his craft.

“An international icon, Pelé is the only man to have won the World Cup three times, clinching victory for Brazil in the 1958, 1962, and 1970 tournaments. At the time of his first men’s World Cup competition, Pelé was 17 years old and the youngest player to ever participate.” [emphasis added]

There can be no doubt that Pelé captured the imagination of a generation of young Americans who wanted to play the way Pelé played. He almost single-handedly brought about the popularity of soccer in the United States, where it had previously been given little attention.