Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona has passed away at his home in Tigre after suffering a cardiac arrest, a spokesman told news agency AFP. Maradona best known for leading Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title, was 60.
Earlier in November, Maradona had undergone a surgery for a brain clot. Before his birthday, Maradona had been isolating at home after coming into contact with a person who showed symptoms of COVID-19.
Maradona has continued to cause controversy since his heyday as a player, getting sent home from the 1994 World Cup in the United States for doping and later dropping in and out of the game as a coach.
Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism truncated a stellar career and altered his appearance from the lithe athlete who could slalom effortlessly through teams to a bloated addict who nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.
In Argentina, he was worshipped as ‘El Dios’ – The God – partly a play on words on his number 10 shirt, ‘El Diez.’
He was largely responsible for Argentina’s World Cup victory in 1986 in Mexico, scoring two famous goals in one game against England in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Argentina’s stunned soccer fans sought each other to mourn the death of Diego Maradona, gathering by the hundreds in spots linked to the life of the legendary player.
They gathered outside the humble home where he was born and raised in the Villa Fiorito neighbourhood.
They went to the stadium of Argentinos Juniors, where he started as a professional footballer in 1976. They stood at the historic La Bombonera stadium of his beloved Boca Juniors. More were at the headquarters of Gimnasia La Plata, the team he was coaching.
“I am touched. I can’t understand it, I can’t see the reality. Diego will never die, today is the birth of the Maradona myth,” said Dante L pez, a physician who went to the Argentinos Juniors stadium, which carries the beloved player’s name.
Fans put candles and flowers along the wall around the field.
“Diego was Argentina in the world. He gave us joy and we will never be able to repay him for so much joy,” said Argentine President Alberto Fern ndez, who issued a decree for three days of national mourning and offered the presidential palace for the funeral.