Worried football fans in Brazil on Sunday held a vigil for football icon Pele outside the hospital where the 82-year-old is currently being treated for respiratory infection amid reports that he has been moved to an end-of-life ward.
According to VOA, more than 100 people gathered in front of Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein Hospital to pray for the recovery of arguably the greatest footballer to play the game.
Most of them stood in relative silence outside the hospital located in the Morumbi neighbourhood, holding several banners with supportive messages, including ‘Torcida Joven’ (Young Fans) and ‘Long live the king!’.
“We are a spiritual force praying for the sporting idol as he wages one of the toughest battles of his life,” fan Marcos Bispo dos Santos told AFP.
Pele has been in and out of hospital since he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2021, with his hospitalisation on Tuesday being the latest.
The football community has been sending well wishes to the three-time champion since then.
Doctors at the hospital said in a statement on Saturday that the football icon born Edson Arantes do Nascimento was responding positively to care.
“Pele has had a good response to care without any worsening in the clinical picture in the last 24 hours,” the statement said.
The Santos legend has also expressed optimism about his recovery, urging everyone to remain positive.
“My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive. I’m strong, with a lot of hope, and I follow my treatment as usual,” he said in a post on his verified Facebook page.