Football legend Diego Maradona has passed away, Argentinian local media have reported. The initial reports say he died at home in Tigre after suffering a heart attack. He was 60.
It was Argentinian media outlet Clarin that reported Maradona's deteriorating medical condition. The outlet later confirmed the death of arguably the greatest footballer ever. International news media outlets including ESPN and BBC later confirmed the news that shocked the sporting world.
Surgery For Removing Brain Clot
Maradona, who won the World Cup for Argentina in 1986, was hospitalized earlier this month after suffering blood clot in the brain. He then underwent a surgery and was believed to have recovered.
The 'god of football' had appeared in public after the surgery, and was seen apparently in good health. However, the footballer with the greatest fan base had a long history of medical issues, all of which have played a part in his untimely passing.
'Will Always be in Our Hearts'
Football fans and regular people in Argentina are flocking to his home in grief to pay the last respects to the man who brought unmatched glory to the country. Argentina's Football Association mourned his death expressing "its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend".
"You will always be in our hearts," the association added.
Heroic World Cup Win
Maradona had almost single-handedly carried Argentina to the World Cup victory in 1986. He once again brought Argentina tantalizingly close to another heroic world cup victory in 1990, taking the side to the final where they lost to West Germany.
Probably the lowest point in the life and career of the most loved footballer was in 1994, when he had to exit the tournament after testing positive for banned substance.
Curtains came down on his professional football life in 1997. He was 37 when he called it quits. But before then, Maradona etched his name in the glorious annals of history, and earned a place in the hearts of football fans in the remotest corners of Earth.
Tragic Hero in Life
If Maradona was an unquestioned hero in sport, he was a tragic hero in life. His brilliance on the field was at times overshadowed by the human frailties and follies. He was at times an outspoken rebel who called into question the unjust system and at other moments a simple human being who laughed and cried, letting the emotional side flow loose.
His struggle with drugs remained a blemish, yet he charted out a unique path in the world's sporting history, earning millions of fans even in countries where football wasn't the biggest sport.
Never Minded Making Life a Political Statement
Even as he was hailed as the most talented player football has seen, Diego Armanda Maradona never held himself back from making political statements. He warred with football establishment, fought with club owners, and made friends with Cuba's Fidel Castro. Even his choice of clubs was curious and arguably political. He chose the underdogs - In Spain he chose Barcelona over Real Madrid, in Italy he chose Napoli over reigning champions Inter Milan and Juventus, and in Argentina he played for common man's club Boca Juniors, not for River Plate.
Argentina's Falklands Humiliation and Maradona's 'Revenge'
How can ever anyone born as an Argentine forget Maradona? In the early 80s Argentina lost a bitter war with Britain over the Falklands Islands. The bruised ego of the South Americans was soothed by Maradona when he valiantly led his team to a spectacular quarterfinal victory against England in the 1986 World Cup. The second goal he scored in that match went on to be named as the 'Goal of the Century' by Fifa.
World Lost A Legend, Says Grieving Pele
Argentina's President announces three-day mourning after the death of an unparalleled national hero
President Alberto Fernandez says: "You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of them all ... Thank you for having existed, Diego. We're going to miss you all our lives."