Brazilian soccer star Pele revealed Monday that he underwent successful surgery to remove a tumor from the right side of his colon.
The 80-year-old said he had the surgery last Saturday, days after he was hospitalized in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“My friends, thank you very much for the kind messages. I thank God for feeling very well and for allowing Dr. Fabio and Dr. Miguel to take care of my health,” he wrote. “Last Saturday I underwent surgery to remove a suspicious lesion in the right colon. The tumor was identified during the tests I mentioned last week.
“Fortunately I’m used to celebrating great victories alongside you. I will face this match with a smile on my face, a lot of optimism and joy for living surrounded by the love of my family and friends.”
Pele said last week on social media that the tumor was found during routine exams, something he had to stop doing in recent months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tumor, per the Associated Press, was found during routine cardiovascular and laboratory exams.
Pele has had several significant health issues in recent years. He had a failed hip replacement surgery in 2012, and has been hospitalized multiple times due to kidney and prostate issues.
The Brazilian soccer star helped lead the country to World Cup titles in 1958, 1962 and in 1970, which makes him the only male player ever to win three World Cups. He is still Brazil’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals.