‘Punching the air’: Pelé leaves hospital to undergo chemotherapy
Brazilian football great Pelé has been discharged from the hospital where he received treatment for almost a month.
The 80-year-old had a tumour removed from his colon on 4 September and spent days after the surgery in and out of a São Paulo intensive care unit. Social media posts from his family assured the public he was recovering well.
The Albert Einstein Hospital on Thursday said he was stable and cleared in the morning to leave, but would “continue with chemotherapy.”
Pelé expressed his happiness at being discharged via his Instagram account.
“When the path is difficult, celebrate each step of the journey,” he wrote. “Focus on your happiness. It’s true that I can’t jump anymore, but these past few days, I’ve been punching the air more times than usual.
“I am so happy to be back at home. I want to thank the entire Albert Einstein Hospital team, who made my stay a pleasant one, with a humane and very affectionate welcome. Thanks also to all of you, who from afar, make my life complete with so many messages of love.”
In recent days, Pelé published several pictures and videos on social media showing his recovery process in the hospital. The tumour was found when he went for routine exams at the end of August.
Pelé is regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He burst on to the international stage as a 17-year-old in 1958, scoring six times in total and twice in the final as Brazil won the World Cup for the first time.
He is his country’s leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 games, although Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has scored 69 goals for Brazil and will be eyeing the record.
Officially, Pele scored 757 goals during a glittering career, although Santos – where he spent the majority of his club career – claim his tally was closer to 1,000. He is behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Josef Bican on the official all-time top goalscorers list.
He retired from the game in 1977, and his health has been a source of concern to family and fans. He has suffered from hip problems for years and cannot walk unaided. In 2014 he spent time in the ICU due to a severe urinary tract infection.