Debunked: Is Pelé dead hoax trends on social media

Joshua Rogers August 10, 2022
Debunked: Is Pelé dead hoax trends on social media
Photo credit should read GABRIEL LOPES/AFP via Getty Images

An ‘Is Pelé dead’ hoax was trending on social media recently after a Facebook post claimed the soccer legend had died. Here, we debunk the rumor and find out where it came from.

Pelé is widely recognised as one of the greatest soccer players of all time and an absolute legend of the game. The Brazilian legend is the country’s all-time leading goalscorer 77 goals in 92 games, and remains the only player in history to win three World Cups.

Pelé is now 81 years old and has had a number of health issues in recent years. In September 2021, he had surgery to remove a tumor on the right side of his colon, although his eldest daughter Kely stated he was “doing well”.

7 Footballers Who Are The GOAT For TWO Clubs

7 Footballers Who Are The GOAT For TWO Clubs

On August 8, 2022, ‘Is Pelé dead’ started to trend on social media. Rumors of his death appeared to stem from an ‘RIP Pelé’ Facebook page that reportedly attracted almost a million likes. The page looked convincing and posted the following message:

“At about 11am ET on Monday (August 8, 2022), our beloved footballer Pelé passed away. Pelé was born on October 23, 1940 in Três Corações. He will be missed but not forgotten. Please show your sympathy and condolences by commenting on and liking this page.”

Debunked: Pelé is very much alive

Thankfully, the RIP Pelé post was a hoax. Celebrity death posts are strangely common but can be extremely convincing. In fact, this isn’t even the first hoax claiming Pelé is dead – there was also one in 2020 falsely claiming the soccer star had died at home in Brazil.

Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images

What we know about Pelé’s health in 2022

As mentioned, the 81-year-old had a tumor removed from his colon in September 2021 after doctors found Pelé had colon cancer. He has reportedly been in and out of hospital for chemotherapy on a regular basis since.

A urinary infection meant his last stay in hospital was longer than planned, but he is now reportedly back at home near Santos in Brazil.

“He’s good. He is in a tough battle over his health, but my father is a fighter, just as he has been his whole life,” Pelé’s son Edinho told reporters. “He’s still fighting. Our family prays for him a lot and we’re hoping he will recover.”

In April 2022, Marca reported Pelé had been discharged from Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein after spending three days there for tests related to his cancer treatment. At the time he was reportedly in a good and stable condition, according to doctors.

Do you think Pelé is the greatest soccer player ever? Let us know in the comments below!

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Joshua is a senior sports writer with over four years' experience in online writing. He graduated with a BA in Ancient History from The University of Manchester before receiving an MA in Sports Journalism from The University of Central Lancashire. He became a trending writer for a leading social publisher and later spent time covering the 2018 World Cup for The Mirror Online. He then moved to a social marketing agency where he acted as website editor. His specialties on The Focus include F1, tennis, NBA, NFL and combat sports.