Family members of Brazilian soccer great Pele are gathering at the Albert Einstein hospital in Sao Paulo where the 82-year-old global icon has been since the end of November.
Doctors said earlier this week that Pele's cancer had advanced, adding the three-time World Cup winner is under "elevated care" related to "kidney and cardiac dysfunctions." No other hospital statements have been published since.
Edson Cholbi Nascimento, one of Pele's sons and known as Edinho, arrived Saturday, one day after he gave a news conference to deny he would visit his father in the hospital. Edinho, who works for a soccer club in southern Brazil, had said then that only doctors could help his father.
"He (Edson) is here," Kely Nascimento, one of Pele's daughters, said in a posting on Instagram with a picture showing her sitting next to Edinho and two of his children at the hospital. "I am not leaving, no one will take me out of here."
Hours later, Edinho, a former Santos goalkeeper, posted a picture showing his hand holding his father's.
"Dad ... my strength is yours," Pele's son said.
Edson Arantes do Nascimento, who is globally known as Pele, had a colon tumor removed in September 2021. Neither his family nor the hospital have said whether it had spread to other organs.
Kely Nascimento and her sister Flavia Arantes do Nascimento used their social media channels Friday night to post an undated picture of Pele apparently holding on to Kely with one hand as he lay on his hospital bed and Flavia slept on a couch.
"We continue to be here, in this fight and with faith. Another night together," Kely Nascimento wrote.
The hospital has not mentioned any signs of Pele's recent respiratory infection, which was aggravated by COVID-19.
Newspaper Folha de S.Paulo reported last weekend that Pele's chemotherapy was not working and that doctors had decided to put him on palliative care. Pele's family denied that report.
Pele led Brazil to victory in the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups and remains one of the team's all-time leading scorers with 77 goals. Neymar tied Pele's record during the latest World Cup.