Relatives of football legend Pelé have said the 82-year-old is in no imminent risk of death.
Two daughters and a grandson of the Brazilian player said the three-time World Cup winner has been in hospital since Tuesday for treatment for a respiratory infection aggravated by COVID-19.
Kely and Flavia Nascimento and Arthur Arantes do Nascimento said so in an interview on Sunday evening PeleAlso undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer, he is expected to leave the Albert Einstein hospital in São Paulo once he is fully recovered from the infection.
They added that the 82-year-old faces no imminent risk of death.
“He’s sick, he’s old. But he’s there at the moment due to the lung infection. And once he feels better, he’ll go home,” Kely Nascimento told TV Globo.
“He’s not saying goodbye at the hospital at the moment,” he added.
The hospital said Pelé was responding well to treatment for the infection and his health had not worsened in the previous 24 hours.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known worldwide as Pele, had colon cancer removed in September 2021, but neither his family nor the hospital said whether it had spread.
Flavia Nascimento said: “It’s very unfair for people to say she’s at the end of her life, in palliative care. Guys, that’s not true. Believe it,” she said. “He’s not in the ICU, he’s in a regular bedroom. He’s not at risk, he’s being treated.”
The Associated Press said the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported on Saturday that Pele’s chemotherapy was not working and that doctors had decided to put him in palliative care.
Pelé thanks the fans from the hospital
“Someday it will happen, not today”
Arthur Arantes do Nascimento said the footballer was discussing World Cup matches with him over the phone, which he said shows he is fully aware in hospital.
He said his grandfather has been moved by the tributes that have arrived from all over the world in recent days.
Since Saturday, around 100 fans of his historic club Santos have gathered for a vigil, prayers and tributes to the great footballer.
“I see people saying to me, ‘rest in peace’ (to Pele). One day it will happen, but it’s not today,” she said. “He’ll be fine, it’s a matter of time. He’ll see Brazil win their sixth title.”
Pelé helped Brazil win the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains the team’s all-time top scorer with 77 goals in 92 games.