Pelé, the Brazilian soccer star and three-time World Cup champion credited with transforming his sport into an international juggernaut, died Thursday after a lengthy battle with colon cancer. He was 82. 

Agent Joe Fraga confirmed the soccer legend’s death. The star had been treated for colon cancer since last year and had been hospitalized for the past month, The Associated Press reported.  

Pelé spent nearly two decades mesmerizing players and fans as he revolutionized the game with what the wire service called “a samba-like flair that personified his country’s elegance on the field.”

His bicycle kick goal against Belgium in 1968 electrified the world, introducing it to one of the sport’s most difficult fetes.

In addition to being a stand-out player, Pelé also served as Brazil’s Extraordinary Minister for Sport and as a UNESCO and United Nations ambassador.

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