Pele has been moved to palliative care in hospital, according to reports in Brazil.
News outlet Folha reports that the former Brazil international’s chemotherapy has been suspended and he is now undergoing measures aimed at relieving pain and a shortness of breath.
The 82-year-old has been receiving treatment for colon cancer, having undergone surgery to remove a tumour during September 2021.
On Thursday evening, a post on Pele’s Instagram account looked to allay any serious worries.
Attached to a photograph of a ‘get well soon’ message displayed on buildings at the World Cup in Qatar, the Brazil great wrote: “Friends, I am at the hospital making my monthly visit.
“It’s always nice to receive positive messages like this. Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes!”
England captain Harry Kane, speaking ahead of the last-16 match against Senegal on Sunday, said the team was sending its best wishes to Pele and his family.
He said: “He is an inspiration among our game. He’s an incredible footballer, incredible person.
“We are very sad to hear news of him being ill but we wish him well, not just me but the whole England set-up.”
France forward Kylian Mbappe said simply on Twitter: “Pray for the King.”
Injury affected his contribution to the 1962 and 1966 finals, but he returned to lead Brazil to a third triumph in Mexico in 1970 as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest international team of all time.
Officially, Pele scored 757 goals in 831 games during a glittering career from 1957 to 1977, although club Santos claim his tally was closer to 1,000.