BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Diego Maradona, the Argentine soccer great who scored the “Hand of God” goal in 1986 and led his country to that year’s World Cup title before later struggling with cocaine use and obesity, has died. He was 60.
A person close to Maradona said he died Wednesday of a heart attack. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
Maradona died two weeks after being released from a Buenos Aires hospital following brain surgery.
The office of Argentina’s president said it will decree three days of national mourning, and the Argentine soccer association expressed its sorrow on Twitter.
One of the most famous moments in the history of the sport, the “Hand of God” goal, came when Maradona punched the ball into England’s net during the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals. He 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 idolized in soccer-mad Argentina as the “Pibe de Oro” or “Golden Boy.”
“You took us to the top of the world,” Argentine President Alfredo Fernández said on social media. “You made us incredibly happy. You were the greatest of all.”
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 Brazilian said in a statement he had lost “a dear friend.” Continue reading