Both men are considered two of the greatest soccer players in history and come from similarly humble backgrounds.
“I have lost a great friend and the world lost a legend,” wrote Pele, who turned 80 last month, on Twitter.
“There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to his family members. One day, I hope, we will play football together in heaven.”
While Maradona – at the age of 25 – was key to Argentina’s World Cup triumph in 1986, Pele burst onto the scene as a teenager, helping lead his native Brazil to tournament success in the 1958 event.
Pele went on to star on two other World Cup title teams as well, in 1962 and 1970, in addition to a breakthrough career with the Brazilian club Santos and later with the New York Cosmos of the now-defunct North American Soccer League.
In 2000, Pele and Maradona were named co-Players of the Century by FIFA, the international soccer governing body.
The Brazilian legend was among a number of high-profile names to pay tribute to Maradona on social media after the news was confirmed.
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez has announced three days of national mourning following Maradona’s death, while UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said a minute’s silence would be observed ahead of all European matches this week.