The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has mourned Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, who died at the age of 82.
Pelé, considered by many to be the greatest player of all time, died in a Sao Paulo hospital on Thursday.
He had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer since 2021.
UNESCO tweeted that it was “deeply saddened” by his passing and expressed its condolences to the Brazilian people and the “football family” in general.
The UN agency said it had “worked tirelessly to promote sport as a tool for peace. He will be greatly missed.”
Similarly, in a tweet, the director of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, wrote: “We are all with the people of Brazil.”
“We are celebrating a man who made millions of children dream on all continents and generations.”
At 17, Pelé won his first World Cup in soccer or football, in 1958, and then lifted the game’s top trophy two more times, in 1962 and 1970.
He scored a world record 1,281 goals, playing in 1,363 matches during his professional career, which began when he was just 15 years old.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, in 1940, the soccer giant, nicknamed “the Black Pearl” and “the King,” retired from the game in 1977.
In 1999, the Santos player and Brazil’s most revered star was voted player of the century in a poll of previous Ballon d’Or winners, the players who win world soccer’s annual award for their outstanding performance that year.
During his retirement, he devoted considerable time to supporting the United Nations and its work, both as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund and as a UNESCO Champion of Sport, since 1994.