Pele’s daughters, Flavia and Kely Nascimento have revealed that the football legend is not close to death after he was admitted to hospital to treat a respiratory infection that was aggravated by Covid.
They said Pele was ‘not at risk’ despite reports claiming he had been placed in ‘palliative care’ after being admitted into the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
Flavia and Kely thanked fans for their concerns but said Pele is ‘not ready to say goodbye’ and insisted he will ‘go home again’ once he recovers from his lung infection.
They dismissed claims that Pele was in the ICU and even revealed how the 82-year-old had been watching Brazil at the 2022 World Cup and how he had been discussing their progress over the phone with his grandson.
Kely, Flavia, and Arthur Arantes do Nascimento updated Pele’s fans during an interview on Sunday evening. They said Pele, who is also undergoing chemotherapy in his fight against cancer, is expected to leave the Albert Einstein hospital once he fully recovers from the respiratory infection.
However, a report by Folha de Sao Paulo on Saturday suggested there was cause for concern in terms of Pele’s cancer.
The report said Pele was no longer responding to the chemotherapy treatment he has been undergoing since last September to treat his bowel cancer.
Speaking to Fantastico, Kely said: ‘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.’
Flavia went on to explain how the hospital was the best place for Pele to get the care he needed but insisted the 82-year-old was ‘not in the ICU’.
She said: ‘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 went on to say it was ‘unfair to talk about his palliative treatment’. She told Fantastico: ‘It is very unfair to start talking that he is in a terminal state, with palliative treatment.
‘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.’
The hospital said on Saturday that Pele was responding well to treatment for the infection and that his health condition had not worsened over the previous 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Kely went on to speak about how difficult it has been receiving thousands of social media messages about her father.
She said: ‘People send me their condolences (on social networks). I say I’m going to put the phone down and I’m not going to answer anyone.
‘I just feel like I have to respond to people. Not to tell everything, but to say that it is not like that. 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 – whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento – is regarded by many as the greatest footballer of all time.
He won three World Cups with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970, and scored 643 goals in 659 official matches for the Brazilian club Santos. He scored 77 times in 92 games for his country’s national team.