Brazilian soccer great Pele has said he is not seriously ill, easing fears that his health deteriorated even though a hospital said he was in intensive care and undergoing renal support treatment.
The 74-year-old Pele used his official Twitter account to deny widespread reports that said his condition worsened and that he was put in intensive care to treat a urinary tract infection.
"I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am doing fine," he said. "I was not put into intensive care today, I was simply relocated to a special room within the hospital for privacy purposes only."
Pele had an operation to remove kidney stones on November 13, but he was readmitted to the hospital on Monday after being
diagnosed with the infection.
The Albert Einstein hospital released a statement saying the 74-year-old Pele was transferred to a 'special care' unit after his condition became unstable, but his spokesperson and personal aide denied his health condition deteriorated.
"He is fine," Jose Fornos Rodrigues, known as Pepito, told The Associated Press. "The problem was that he was receiving too many visitors and that wasn't helping, so they transferred him to a calmer area to continue receiving the proper treatment. He should be out of the hospital in a few days."
The hospital's statement created a scare in Brazil, with local media widely reporting that Pele's condition had worsened. The story was highlighted by most of the country's top web portals. Widely known as the greatest footballer of all time, Pele is a national hero in the South American country.
The hospital's press office had already said the three-time World Cup champion was not in an intensive care unit and was just being monitored.
Hello everyone, I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am doing fine.— Pelé (@Pele) November 27, 2014
I was not put into intensive care today, I was simply relocated to a special room within the hospital for privacy purposes only.— Pelé (@Pele) November 27, 2014
While I appreciate all the visitors that came to see me, I really need to continue my treatment and recovery in peace.— Pelé (@Pele) November 27, 2014
Pele was in the same hospital less than 15 days ago to undergo surgery to remove kidney stones.
He has enjoyed good health in recent years despite needing to undergo surgeries for a hip replacement and a detached retina.
Pele remains a worldwide ambassador to football and is active with his many businesses across the globe. He still participates in many advertising campaigns and is present at most major football tournaments.
He won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, '62 and 1970 and is known as the game's most prolific scorer, credited with 1,281 goals in 1,363 career matches.