Sept. 6 (UPI) — Brazilian soccer legend Pele said Monday he is in recovery after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from his colon.
Pele, 80, said in a Facebook post that he his feeling well and is optimistic about his chances for recovery.
“My friends, thank you very much for the messages of affection,” he wrote. “Last Saturday I underwent suspicious injury withdrawal surgery on my right colon. The tumor has been identified in carrying out the exams I mentioned in the last week.
“Luckily, I’m used to celebrating big wins alongside you. I’m going to face this match more with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy to live surrounded by love from my family and friends,” he said.
Pele is at Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in Sao Paulo where he is recovering in the intensive care unit, medical officials told CNN and NBC News.
The procedure came just days after Pele refuted reports he had fainted.
In an Instagram message posted Tuesday, Pele wrote: “Guys, I didn’t faint and I’m in very good health. I went for my routine exams, which I had not been able to do before because of the pandemic. Let them know I don’t play next Sunday!”
Pele, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was a key part of the Brazilian national soccer teams that won World Cup championships in 1958, 1962 and 1970. In club football, his Santos team won nine São Paulo league championships as well as both the Libertadores Cup and the Intercontinental Club Cup in 1962 and 1963.
He scored 77 goals for Brazil, including 12 in World Cup matches, and racked up more than 1,283 goals in first-tier league games.