SPORTS DESK: Argentine legend Diego Maradona died on Wednesday at the age of 60 at his home on the outskirts of Buenos Aires following a heart attack.
Matias Morla, Maradona’s longtime agent, confirmed the news to Efe news agency. Maradona’s spokesman, Sebastian Sanchi, said he died Wednesday of a heart attack two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery.
A statement from the Argentina Football Association read: “The Argentine Football Association, through its President Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest pain at the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You’ll always be in our hearts.”
Argentina President Alberto Fernandez also confirmed three days of national mourning following the news. Fernandez posted a photograph of himself on Twitter hugging Maradona with the message: “You took us to the highest place in the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thanks for existing, Diego. We are going to miss you the rest of our lives.”
The Argentine government also confirmed that Maradona’s body will lie in state at the Casa Rosada government headquarters for three days beginning Thursday and that the he will be given a state funeral.
Additionally, the Argentine Professional Soccer League announced that the current First Division tournament will change its name to honour Maradona.
In a statement, the league said: “To remember the unforgettable captain of the Argentine national team, the Copa de la Liga Profesional will be renamed to Copa Diego Armando Maradona”
One of the most famous moments in the history of the sport, the “Hand of God” goal, came when the diminutive Maradona punched the ball into England’s net during the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals.
Ahead of his 60th birthday in October, Maradona told France Football magazine that it was his dream to “score another goal against the English, this time with the right hand.”
Maradona also captivated fans around the world over a two-decade career with a bewitching style of play that was all his own.
Although his reputation was tarnished by his addictions and an ill-fated spell in charge of the national team, he remained idolised in football-mad Argentina as the “Pibe de Oro” or “Golden Boy.”
The No. 10 he wore on his jersey became synonymous with him, as it also had with Pele, the Brazilian great with whom Maradona was regularly paired as the best of all time.
The retired Brazilian star mourned the death of Maradona in a brief statement provided to Reuters by a representative.
“Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” he said.
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