Pele will be home for Christmas after planned follow-up treatment for colon tumor, daughter says

Brazilian soccer star Pele was back in the hospital to undergo treatment for a colon tumor that was first identified in September, his doctors said Wednesday, but is returning home for Christmas.

The three-time World Cup champion is in stable condition at Albert Einstein Hospital in São Paulo and is expected to be released within a few days, doctors told wire outlets AFP and Reuters. The admittance was "for follow-up treatment of the colon tumor identified in September this year," they said.

His daughter, Kely Nascimento, said in an Instagram post the treatment was scheduled and Pele will be home soon.

"In two or three days he will be back home to enjoy Christmas," his daughter wrote with a photo of the two of them after his prodecure. "This was not a surprise. It was already scheduled and is part of the treatment."

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Pele's colon tumor surgery

Pele, 81, said on social media in September that a tumor was found during routine exams that he had initially put off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He underwent surgery on Sept. 4 to remove the tumor from the right side of his colon.

“Fortunately I’m used to celebrating great victories alongside you. I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends," he wrote on Instagram.

He spent a month in the hospital, including a short stay in intensive care and "semi-intensive care," before continuing chemotherapy from home. Pele chronicled some of his progress and updates in Instagram posts.

Brazilian soccer legend Pele has returned to the hospital.  REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
Brazilian soccer legend Pele has returned to the hospital. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Health issues for Pele

Pele's tumor is his latest health issue in recent years. He has been hospitalized for kidney and prostate issues multiple times and underwent a failed hip replacement surgery in 2012.

Pele is considered by many the greatest soccer player of all time. He is the only male player to win three World Cups (1958, '62, '70), helping Brazil to its first title in 1958. He is the country's all-time leading international scorer with 77 goals and scored more than 1,000 in his playing career before retiring in 1977.