"The smiling photo is not for nothing. As I promised you, I will spend Christmas with my family. I'm coming back home. Thanks for all the kind messages," Pele wrote Thursday on Twitter
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Pele
Credit: Friedemann Vogel/Getty


Brazilian soccer star Pelé will get to spend Christmas with his family after being discharged Thursday from the hospital where he has been receiving cancer treatment.

On Thursday, the 81-year-old three-time World Cup winner — who is considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time — shared the happy news on Twitter.

"The smiling photo is not for nothing. As I promised you, I will spend Christmas with my family. I'm coming back home. Thanks for all the kind messages," Pelé tweeted, confirming that he had left the hospital.

According to ESPN, Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital also announced Pelé was discharged.

"The patient is stable and will continue his treatment for a colon tumor that was identified in September," read a statement from the hospital, per ESPN.

The latest update on his health comes after Pelé was hospitalized on Dec. 8 at Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein hospital, where he received treatment for a tumor in his colon. At the time, he was admitted to undergo chemotherapy treatment.

Pelé previously underwent surgery to remove the tumor in his right colon in early September. He spent a month in the hospital following the operation. The tumor, CNN reported, was found during a routine examination.

"When the path is difficult, celebrate each step of the journey," Pelé, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, wrote on Instagram in late September. "Focus on your happiness. It's true that I can't jump anymore, but these past few days, I've been punching the air more times than usual."

"Thanks also to all of you, who from afar, make my life complete with so many messages of love," he added.

During his career, Pelé is said to have scored over 1,000 times, with Guinness World Records estimating the number is as high as 1,279 goals.