FIFA said Pele was simply “immortal” after the Brazil legend, named by world soccer’s governing body as the greatest player of the 20th century, died on Thursday aged 82.

“To everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come. The day we lost Pele,” FIFA president Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

“Today we all mourn the loss of the physical presence of our beloved Pelé, but he achieved immortality a long time ago and will therefore be with us for eternity.”

Pele is the only footballer to have won three FIFA World Cups.

He was just 17 when he won for Brazil in Sweden in 1958. Pelé won the World Cup again in Chile in 1962, despite being forced out of much of the tournament due to injury.

He lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy for the third and last time in Mexico in 1970.

“Pele: immortal, forever with us,” FIFA said on its website.

Infantino said that Pelé was unique and sent his condolences to his family, Brazil and all football fans.

“Her skill and imagination were unmatched. Pelé did things that no other player would even dream of,” Infantino said.

“Most importantly, ‘The King’ ascended the throne with a smile on his face. Soccer could be brutal in those days, and Pelé often received rough treatment.

“But, although he knew how to defend himself, he was always an exemplary sportsman, with genuine respect for his opponents.”

Infantino added: “Pelé had a magnetic presence and when you were with him, the rest of the world stood still. His life is more than football. He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and around the world.”

FIFA noted that he was the youngest world champion in history, not to mention the youngest goalscorer, the youngest hat-trick, the youngest finalist and the youngest player to score in a final in World Cup history.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who led world soccer’s governing body from 1998 to 2015, has called Pelé the greatest player in history.

“The world is in mourning for the best footballer in history and a wonderful personality. He celebrated the game like no other,” Blatter said on Twitter.

“Dear Pele, I am immensely saddened and I honor you and your life’s work. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.”

Meanwhile, the governing body of European soccer, UEFA, praised Pele for his part in the popularity of soccer.

“He was the game’s first global superstar. Rest in peace, Pele.”