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‘He’ll come home’: Pele’s daughters reassure fans of ailing soccer icon

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Sao Paulo

The daughters of Brazilian soccer superstar Pele told fans on Sunday their father’s health was not at serious risk and said they are confident he will return home when he recovers from a respiratory infection.

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The 82-year-old has been hospitalized in Sao Paulo since Tuesday amid ongoing treatments for colon cancer, which was first diagnosed in September 2021.

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Pelé “is sick, he is old, but right now he is hospitalized for a lung infection.

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”, Kely Arantes Nascimento told the Globo television channel.

“And when he gets better, he’ll come home,” he said.

“We are not going to say goodbye in the hospital,” he insisted, explaining that the respiratory illness was the result of a Covid-19 infection that the sports icon had contracted three weeks ago.

His sister, Flavia Arantes Nascimento, denied reports by the Folha de S.

Paulo newspaper and ESPN Brasil that Pele was no longer responding to chemotherapy and was now only receiving “palliative care.

She told the news channel that her father was not in the intensive care unit, but in a regular ward, and that the family was “tired of receiving condolences” and that the cancer treatment is “paying off”.

“It is really unfair that they say that he is in the terminal stage.

It’s not that, believe us,” she said.

Early Sunday, fans of Pele, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, gathered outside the Sao Paulo hospital where the three-time world champion is kept.

More than 100 devotees prayed for the recovery of the man widely considered the greatest soccer player of all time.

“We are a spiritual force” that he prays for the sports idol as he fights “one of the toughest battles of his life,” a fan, Marcos Bispo dos Santos, told AFP.

Doctors at Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital said on Saturday that Pele remained “stable.

Pelé “has had a good response to care without worsening of the clinical picture in the last 24 hours,” they said in a statement.

The star later struck an upbeat note in an Instagram post, saying, “My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive.

I am strong, with great enthusiasm and I follow my treatment as always”.

On Sunday, his fans stood mostly silent outside the clinic in Sao Paulo’s western Morumbi neighborhood, holding a banner depicting a young Pelé and marked “Torcida Joven” (“Young Fans”).

“Long live the king!

” said several posters taped to the walls near the entrances to the hospital.

Around noon, fans formed a circle and held hands while reciting an “Our Father.

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