Diego Maradona has died from a heart attack just days after turning 60.
The Argentinian football legend died at home, his lawyer said, just three weeks after having surgery on a blot clot in his brain.
Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986, having knocked England out of the tournament in a match which saw him score the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal and another – widely considered to be one of the greatest goals of all time.
Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time on the pitch, his life off the pitch was equally notorious – amid battles with drug and alcohol addiction.
He also achieved league success with Italian side Napoli, winning the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990, along with an Italian Cup in 1987 and a Uefa Cup in 1991.
But it was also during these years that his addiction to cocaine took hold. In 1991, the year he left the club, he was banned for 15 months for drug violations.
In 1994 he was thrown out of the World Cup in America after failing a drugs test, before retiring from football in 1997.
In 1999 and 2000 he was taken to hospital suffering heart problems, the second time requiring a respirator to breathe.
In 2004, he was again treated in hospital for severe heart and respiratory problems linked to his drug abuse.
He has undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse.
In January, he had surgery to stem bleeding in his stomach and in July he underwent a knee operation.
Three week ago he was admitted to hospital for surgery on a blood clot in his brain, before being discharged to recover at home.
It was there that he died on Wednesday.
The Argentine news outlet Clarin broke the news on Wednesday afternoon UK time, describing the news of Maradona’s passing as having a ‘worldwide impact’.
The sad news was confirmed by Maradona’s lawyer. Soon, tributes were pouring in from all over the world of football.
Maradona left hospital on November 11 just eight days after being admitted for emergency brain surgery.
The iconic former Argentinian footballer was driven away from the private Olivos Clinic just before 6pm on November 11 as hundreds of fans of photographers tried to get a glimpse of him.
Maradona was hospitalised the previous week and had to have an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from his brain.
Maradona’s Long History of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Maradona began taking cocaine in the mid-1980s – during the height of his playing days, going on to develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol over the next two decades.
His drug use began in 1982 and reportedly grew worse in 1984 when he moved to Napoli and had connections with the Comorra.
In 2014, Maradona said of his drug use: ‘I gave my opponents a big advantage. Do you know the player I could have been if I hadn’t taken drugs?’
His first real punishment came in 1991 when he was banned for 15 months by Napoli after testing positive for cocaine. Later in the same year he was arrested in Buenos Aires for possessing half a kilo of cocaine, and was given a 14-month suspended sentence.
In 1994, Maradona was back in the fold with the Argentina national team, making headlines around the world for a now-famous screaming celebration into the camera lens after a goal against Greece. His tournament was to come to an early end, though, after he was expelled days later for testing positive for five variants of ephedrine, a banned substance. He was banned for 15 months, ending his international career.
In 1995, he moved to Boca Juniors but two years later he failed a drugs test for the third time in six years, putting an end to his playing career. Officially, a ‘prohibited substance’ is all that has been revealed about that test, but Boca president Mauricio Macri has said in interviews that cocaine was found in a urine sample.
In 1996, Maradona said publicly: ‘I was, am and always will be a drug addict.’
In 2000, the footballing legend suffered an overdose, and in 2004 he had a heart attack. A year later, he was forced to have gastric bypass surgery, and in 2007 he was back in hospital again, this time suffering hepatitis.
It is then understood he stopped taking drugs, telling a journalist in 2017 that he hadn’t taken drugs for 13 years and was feeling ‘great’.
He has been drinking alcohol since 2004, though, hitting the headlines at the 2018 World Cup for his bizarre antics at a number of Argentina games. A video emerged of him drinking tequila on a plane, and he claimed he ‘drank all the wine’ ahead of their win over Nigeria.
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