The Associated Press reports
that soccer great, Socrates, the "Golden Heel" died 4:30 a.m. Brazilian time Sunday morning. The former soccer player passed away in Albert Einstein hospital after being rushed there a few days before and diagnosed with an intestinal infection.
Sunday was Socrates third time hospitalized in the past four months. He was recently placed in intensive care twice prior to the last for a (according to doctors) hemorrhage caused by high pressure in the vein that carries blood from the digestive system to the liver.
Widely known as a hard drinker back in his playing days. Socrates admitted publicly that his drinking contributed greatly to his health problems and said he had quit the drink earlier this year.
Brazil lost "one of its most cherished sons," said Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
Adding, "On the field, with his talent and sophisticated touches, he was a genius. Off the field, ... he was active politically, concerned with his people and his country."
Former Italy forward Paolo Rossi told the ANSA news agency, "Socrates seemed like a player from another era." Rossi added, "You couldn't place him in any category – on the pitch and even more so off it. Everyone knew about his degree in medicine and he had a lot of cultural and social interests as well. He was unique from every point of view."
Mostly known for his "1982 World Cup
" performance, Socrates later became a doctor and an outspoken voice in Brazilian politics.
Socrates was met by a huge crowd of fans and admirers Sunday at his funeral
in Ribeirao Preto.