Pele had COVID-19 and a heart rate below normal before being hospitalized last Tuesday, sources have told ESPN.
The 82-year-old soccer legend, who is battling colon cancer, was admitted to the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo for a respiratory infection and remains in stable condition, according to a statement released on Saturday.
Pele tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 17 and has been treated with medication to control pain and fever, but COVID was one of the initial reasons he was taken to the hospital, said sources.
Before that, he was being treated for metastatic cancer at his home in Guaruja, on the coast of Sao Paulo. During the days before his hospitalization, Pele had respiratory issues and the exams performed on Wednesday determined that he has bronchopneumonia.
Pele’s heart rate was also diagnosed with bradyarrhythmia, an abnormality that causes the heart to work at a rhythm below what is considered normal, the sources added.
The Albert Einstein hospital said on Friday that Pele is getting antibiotics to treat an infection at the same time he undergoes chemotherapy against cancer.
On Sunday, the sixth day of Pele’s hospitalization, the Albert Einstein Hospital did not release a new statement on his condition.
Pele, had a colon tumor removed in September 2021, helped Brazil win the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains the team’s all-time leading scorer with 77 goals in 92 matches.
Information from ESPN Brazil was used in this story.