Pelé has died at the age of 82 after a battle with cancer ©Getty Images

Brazilian footballer Pelé, who won three FIFA World Cup titles, has died at the age of 82 after a period in hospital.

The forward, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, won football’s greatest prize in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Pelé, who has been in hospital in São Paulo since November 29 for a respiratory infection and what was described as “re-evaluation of the chemotherapy treatment over colon cancer identified in September 2021”, had a tumour removed from his colon last year.

Pelé scored 77 goals across 92 appearances for Brazil, making him the country’s joint top scorer in men’s international football.

In 1999 he was named the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athlete of the Century, and in 2016 he was presented the Olympic Order by IOC President Thomas Bach in his home town of Santos.

Bach, in a message posted on the IOC's social media accounts said in tribute: "With Pelé’s passing, the world has lost a great sporting icon. 

"As I could experience myself, he was a true believer in the Olympic values and a proud carrier of the Olympic Flame. It was a privilege to present the Olympic Order to him."

Pelé won three World Cups with his first triumph coming in 1958 ©Getty Images
Pelé won three World Cups with his first triumph coming in 1958 ©Getty Images

Pelé remains the youngest player to score in a FIFA World Cup final after netting twice at the age of 17 during Brazil’s 5-2 victory over Sweden in 1958.

Tributes have come in from across the football world following the news.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said: "For everyone who loves the beautiful game, this is the day we never wanted to come. The day we lost Pelé.

"Pelé had a magnetic presence and, when you were with him, the rest of the world stopped. His life is about more than football.

"He changed perceptions for the better in Brazil, in South America and across the world.  His legacy is impossible to summarise in words.

"To his family and friends, to CBF, to Brazil and to all football fans who loved him so much, I express my sincere condolences.  

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

The Brazilian Government described Pelé as "a living legend in our lifetime".

"Football perfection; the King was almost synonymous with his homeland," the Government's official Twitter account wrote.

"Generations to come will remember him as a gentleman off the field, and a magician on it - the epic number 10 shirt, immortalised by his genius."

The Brazilian Olympic Committee tweeted: "The biggest name in world football has just left us.

"Much of what we are today we owe to you."

The Football Association tweeted that the Brazilian was "one of the greatest to have graced the beautiful game", adding "Farewell, Pelé. You will never be forgotten".

The arch at Wembley Stadium in London has also been lit up in the Brazilian colours this evening in tribute.

The Football Association of Wales said in a statement: "Pele broke our hearts in 1958 to score his first World Cup goal to knock Cymru out.

"Today our hearts are broken again. A true sporting legend.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Brazil and the world football family."