Pele dies: Former side New York Cosmos honour Brazil icon's 'inestimable' legacy

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Pele leaves an "inestimable" legacy after changing football with his "sporting artistry and genius", the Brazil great's former side New York Cosmos said on Thursday.

The three-time World Cup winner's death was confirmed by Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital after he suffered multiple organ failure.

Pele had battled colon cancer prior to his passing, with his family travelling to be alongside him earlier in December after he had been moved to palliative care when his body stopped responding to treatment.

The 82-year-old has been lauded by numerous tributes from sporting greats, clubs and various organisations after his iconic career with Brazil and Santos.

He scored 643 goals in 659 matches over an 18-year period for Brazilian side Santos before representing the Cosmos between 1975 and 1977.

"The New York Cosmos family, past and present, grieve the loss of sporting icon Pele," read a statement from the Cosmos, for whom the forward played in the North American Soccer League.

"In 1975, Pele joined the New York Cosmos and helped popularise soccer across the United States. O Rei treated fans to numerous legendary moments on the pitch, including winning the 1977 NASL Soccer Bowl.

"During three seasons with the Cosmos, Pele helped transform the domestic landscape of the sport of soccer. Where once there had been baseball diamonds, now there were also soccer pitches.

"The Cosmos and their king not only started a sporting revolution in America, they also travelled the world to spread the gospel of the beautiful game, representing the world's most global city at the global game, leaving a lasting sporting legacy in India, China, and Japan, where their visits remain a cherished part of local sporting lore.

"His last game as a professional footballer was played on October 1, 1977, before a sold-out crowd at Giants Stadium and a global television audience.

"Pele played one half each for the only two clubs he ever represented, Santos and the New York Cosmos. Pele's name will forever be synonymous with sporting artistry and genius.

"His lasting impact on the sport of soccer is inestimable. Rest in peace, O Rei."