The soccer legend World Cup hero, died from a heart attack, his attorney said.
GETTY IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGESBARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 13: Argentina player Diego Maradona (c) takes on the Belguim defence during the 1982 FIFA World Cup match between Argentina and Belguim at the Nou Camp stadium on June 13, 1982 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Steve Powell/Allsport/Getty Images)
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time before drug and alcohol addiction marred his career, died on Wednesday at his home in Argentina after suffering a heart attack, his lawyer said. He was 60.
Beloved in his homeland after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 and adored in Italy for taking Napoli to two Serie A titles, Maradona was a uniquely gifted player who rose from the tough streets of Buenos Aires to reach the pinnacle of his sport.
He died four years to the day after one of his political heroes, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and 15 years to the day after another troubled but talented football folk hero, George Best, whom Maradona cited as one of his boyhood inspirations.
Maradona had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma several weeks ago.
He suffered a heart attack at his home in the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, acquaintances of the former player said. His death was confirmed by his lawyer.
In Buenos Aires, people began pouring onto the streets to mourn the nation’s favorite son, gathering in the San Andres neighborhood where he lived and also in La Plata where he had lately been the technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.
The Argentine government has declared three days of mourning. President Alberto Fernandez said in a tweet, “You took us to the highest point in the world, and made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thank you for having been with us, Diego. We will miss you all our lives.”
In Argentina, he has long been worshipped as ‘El Dios’ - The God. At Buenos Aires metro stations, digital billboards replaced messages about trains with the words: “Gracias Diego”.
In the Buenos Aires suburb of Villa Crespo, the song “La Mano de Dios” by folk singer Rodrigo Bueno rang out from a balcony, a reference to a goal Maradona scored with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
While that goal - and his description of it as divine intervention - was Maradona’s most controversial, his second in that game, where he ran through the England team to score a stunning solo goal, showcased his extraordinary dribbling and control that many view as unmatched.
Saw a documentary on Maradona on a plane 6 months ago and his story was quite sad. He was managed by the Argentinian mafia who used to pay him gold Rolexs. They got him hooked onto drugs and dumped him when they didn't need him.
‘The greatest’: Thousands of Argentinians say goodbye to Maradona
Fans queue in Buenos Aires to pay their last respects to Diego Maradona, a national icon who died on Wednesday.
Fans react after visiting Maradona's funeral chapel installed at the Casa Rosada [Juan Ignacio Roncoroni/EPA]
By Natalie Alcoba
26 Nov 2020 Buenos Aires, Argentina — As Luciano Perez walked with his son Dante towards Argentina’s presidential palace, where Diego Maradona’s coffin was on display, he took solace in the crowds that had gathered along the Avenida de Mayo.
He was glad to see that tens of thousands of people had showed up to honour the football icon he had grown up with and to whom he owed his love of the game.
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But when he stepped inside the Casa Rosada, and passed the closed coffin, cloaked in the Argentine flag and jerseys worn by El Diego, his emotions darkened.
“I didn’t get to meet him and to see him, now, in a coffin, it was just terrible,” said Perez, 36.
Maradona’s coffin was draped in the national flag and football jerseys [Presidency of Argentina via EPA]Argentina did not expect this. The sudden loss of Maradona feels too hard to process, too raw to put into words for this football-obsessed nation.
A genius on the pitch, the player who carried the national squad to soaring heights in the 1986 World Cup, Maradona’s name became synonymous with his native soil.
Now, the country is overcome by acute grief, punctuated by the kind of singing and dancing that was reserved for his dazzling goals. Fans needed to celebrate El Diego, it was like a balm for the pain.
Tens of thousands of people gathered along the Avenida de Mayo [Juan Mabromata/AFP]Some of the heightened emotions spilled over into confrontations with police, as some fans tried to push their way into the presidential palace in the early morning hours. Others sought to push past the line that police had cut off as the end of visitation hours drew near.
Maradona died on Wednesday following a heart attack. His body was carried by motorcade to the Casa Rosada after nightfall, as thousands sought the company of fellow mourners at the Buenos Aires Obelisk. Many of them shifted over to La Casa Rosada, to line up for their chance to spend a few seconds near their idol.
The presidential palace said hundreds of thousands of people had lined up for dozens of blocks to bid farewell to Maradona in an “organised and emotive” way. But it said that as visiting hours drew to a close Thursday afternoon, people tried to break through the front to gain access.
Visitation was briefly suspended, then fans tried again and managed to get inside. Violent clashes also broke out between fans who didn’t get in and police.
The family decided to suspend the ceremony after the confrontations, and the body of Maradona was taken to Bella Vista cemetery in Buenos Aires province, where his parents are buried.
Local media reported that the coffin would travel to the cemetery by way of the 9 de Julio, the iconic Buenos Aires avenue, so that the throngs that lined it could catch one final glimpse of their idol.
All along the highway route, Argentinians came out for one last guttural cry for El Diego. They climbed onto the road, waved Argentine flags, the jerseys of the country’s football clubs, and shook their arms until they couldn’t anymore. Then, like a lightning bolt, he was gone.
Maradona died on Wednesday following a heart attack, prompting an outpouring of grief across Argentina [Natalie Alcoba/Al Jazeera]“Today there is no jersey. Today there is no political party. That’s what Diego was all his life. He unified Argentinians,” said Nahuel De Lima, 30, the first person in line at the wake, and who came from Villa Fiorito, the same impoverished Buenos Aires neighbourhood that Maradona grew up in.
Close behind him was Dolores Morales, who clutched an old magazine cover from the World Cup-winning era.
“Sometimes you don’t know how to describe things, but he’s the greatest, he’s a god. And there will be a day for Maradona, remember that,” said Morales.
“Maradona represents Argentinianess,” said Martin Rabassano. “Did he have contradictions? Sure, like the whole world. He transcended football. He’s a lot more than a ball. So, he has my respect, and his family has my respect. I had to be here.”
As did Perez, with his son Dante. His love of football and Maradona has stayed with him throughout his life.
“He was my childhood. My adolescence. The reason why I played football,” said Perez, who is from the Buenos Aires suburb of Lanus. “He had a magnetism that was different. He’s a dude that came from the bottom, that empathises with the worker, with the person who doesn’t work, the rich person, with anyone.
“He is authentic. That’s the most important thing.”
SOURCE : AL JAZEERA
this Argentinian nation would never forget him ever, and the world.
i remember 1986 world cup and we used to watch it at night and the streets went desolated all over the city i witnessed. and that world cup was worth watching, although every soccer world cup is a craze to watch, that was because of Diego.