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Football icon Pele has undergone surgery to remove a tumour from his colon.
On Monday, it emerged that Pele had been in hospital for six days with an initially undisclosed health problem, with those close to the 80-year-old insisting that he was not seriously ill.
It had been reported in his native Brazil that Pele was undergoing routine checks in Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital when the undisclosed issue was detected.
“Full battery of tests/scans/colonoscopy/blood etc,” agent Joe Fraga told Reuters. “He doesn’t do everything in one day.”
Pele has since confirmed that he is recovering from an operation to remove a “suspicious lesion” detected in his right colon.
He did not say if the tumour was malignant, with the Albert Einstein Hospital later confirming in a statement that it had been sent away for tests.
Pele has been recovering in intensive care but is expected to be moved to a room in the hospital on Tuesday, per Reuters.
“My friends, thank you very much for the kind messages. I thank God for feeling very well and for allowing Dr. Fábio and Dr. Miguel to take care of my health,” read a message on his official Instagram account.
“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 was recently forced to deny reports that he had fainted, writing: “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!”