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Pele released from hospital after cancer surgery, intensive care unit stays

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After nearly a month in the hospital, Brazilian soccer icon Pele is back at home after having a tumor removed.

Pele, 80, announced Thursday on Instagram that he had been discharged from the hospital following surgery to remove a tumor from his colon and multiple stays in intensive care.

“It's true that I can't jump anymore, but these past few days, I've been punching the air more times than usual,” he wrote, in part. “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.”

Pele underwent surgery in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sept. 4 to remove the tumor from the right side of his colon, something he said was found during routine checkups that he had not been able to go to during the COVID-19 pandemic. He returned to the intensive care unit briefly weeks after his surgery after dealing with “a brief breathing instability.”

Since then, however, Pele has provided several updates on social media about his recovery — including a video of him throwing a soccer ball around with a physical therapist.

Pele will continue chemotherapy treatment, the hospital said, via The Associated Press.

The tumor is just Pele’s latest health issue in recent years, following both kidney and prostate problems and a failed hip replacement surgery.

Pele helped lead Brazil to three World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and 1970 — which made him the only male player to win the event three times. He is still Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals, too.