According to Rossi’s wife Marcia, Rossi became depressed last year after struggling to survive on his $400 per month salary as a physical education teacher, reported Xinhua.
Brazilian news service Uol reported the 45-year-old began using crack after being jailed for failing to pay child support from a previous marriage.
“The first time he used drugs was when he did cocaine in prison,” Marcia said. “He lost the will to live. He went to jail where there are lots of drugs. I told him that this would get him nowhere.”
Rossi sold electronic items from his home in Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sul to fund his habit before deciding to take action.
Marcia said she was adamant Rossi would overcome his addiction.
Rossi retired in 2003 after a 13-year professional career that included spells with Brazilian giants Corinthians, Spain’s Osasuna, Peru’s Universitario and Argentina’s Rosario Central.