Harry Kane sent his best wishes to his "inspiration" Pele as doctors indicated his most recent course of chemotherapy had not worked.
The 82-year-old, lauded as the greatest footballer in history, had been receiving treatment for bowel cancer for more than a year. Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reports he is no longer responding to treatment in hospital where he is being spared invasive tests.
However doctors at the Sao Paulo hospital later pushed back on reports that he was receiving end of life palliative care. Instead, they say he is in for a "reassessment of chemotherapy therapy" for his tumour.
Later, a statement via Pele's Instagram account read: "My friends, I want to keep everyone calm and positive. I'm strong, with a lot of hope and I follow my treatment as usual. I want to thank the entire medical and nursing team for all the care I have received.
"I have a lot of faith in God and every message of love I receive from you all over the world keeps me full of energy. And watch Brazil in the World Cup too! Thank you so much for everything."
A host of leading figures at the World Cup in Qatar had expressed concern for Pele, with England's Kane and France's Kylian Mbappe offering well wishes.
"We send our best wishes to him and all his family," said Kane. "He is an inspiration among our game, incredible footballer and person." Mbappe added in a tweet: "Pray for the King."
Pele, 82, had been undergoing treatment since September 2021, and had surgery to remove a tumour from his colon before Christmas last year.
But it was more recently reportedly diagnosed that his cancer cells had spread to his intestine, lung and liver.
Speaking at a press conference on the eve of England's last-16 encounter against Senegal, Kane explained how he had been delighted to be praised by the footballing great while he was breaking through as a player in 2015.
Pele had said of the Tottenham striker: "I think he is an excellent player - he could be a good one for the English team." Pele went on to advise Kane to "take care of his physical condition" and "never think he can be the best". "Always he has something to learn," Pele added. "That is my advice."
Kane said in response on Saturday: "To hear those words back then was special for me. I am always learning and he was spot on with his advice. It is sad to hear that news and the whole England set-up wish him well."
The Brazilian Football Confederation was unable to offer any immediate comment when contacted by Telegraph Sport. His manager and the Albert Einstein hospital, in São Paulo, are also yet to clarify Pele's current condition..
Pele's latest hospital admission was initially thought to be due to general swelling and reported heart failure. But in an Instagram post last week, his daughter, Kely Nascimento, said there was "no emergency".
She wrote: "Lots of alarm in the media today concerning my dad's health. He is in the hospital regulating medication. There is no emergency or new dire prediction. I will be there for New Years and promise to post some pictures."
A post on Pele's Instagram followed on Friday in which he told his 10.6million followers: "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!"
The hospital had reportedly stated on Friday that Pele had an "adequate response to an antibiotic treatment" and was in a stable condition “with general improvement in health status”.
Pele has been lauded as the greatest footballer of all time, having burst on to the global scene as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup, helping Brazil to the first of their record five successes.
Injury affected Pele's contribution to the 1962 and 1966 finals, but he led Brazil to a third triumph, this time in Mexico in 1970 as part of what is widely regarded as the greatest international team of all time.
He remains Brazil's leading scorer, with 77 goals - two ahead of Neymar.
Last week, on his Instagram page, Pele had posted a photo of the Lusail Towers in Doha decorated with his image on one tower and a "Get Well Soon" text on the other. "It's always nice to receive positive messages like this," he said. "Thanks to Qatar for this tribute, and to everyone who sends me good vibes!"