Diego Maradona has died from a cardiac arrest less than a month after undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot on his brain. He was just 60.
The football legend was believed to have been on the road to recovery following the operation on October 30, but died at his home in Tigre, Argentina.
Hailed as one of the greatest talents of his generation, the sports star’s life was as controversial and it was celebrated.
For 20 years he was held captive by a destructive addiction to cocaine that saw him banned twice from the sport he loved.
Maradona once told how he started using the Class A drug in Europe in 1982 when he was just 22.
“It was enough for me to feel alive. I tried drugs because there are drugs like that everywhere in football,” he said.
“I used to go to the bathroom with the lights off. I was a drug addict, I am a drug addict and I always will be a drug addict in everyone’s eyes. Because drug addicts aren’t forgiven for anything.”
By the time he joined Napoli in 1984, he admitted he was a regular user. He was banned for 15 months in 1991 after failing a dope test while playing for the team, and again in 1994 while playing for Argentina in the World Cup.
“What a player I would have been if I hadn’t taken drugs, right?” he once observed, confirming that his addiction wreaked havoc on his one-of-a-kind ability.
“The drugs were there to f*** ourselves over, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t move on the pitch and I couldn’t train,” he continued.
At his lowest point, he slipped into a coma caused by a cocaine overdose and woke to find his four-year-old daughter begging him to stop.
“I never even used to go to bed. I didn’t even know what a pillow was,” he said.
“Now I want to see the sun, I want to go to bed at night.
“Ever since I kicked my illness, when I was wasting away… I want to explain to you that when I was using I was falling apart.
“It was a step backwards and a footballer always has to go forward. That all stopped thanks to my daughters.
“I was left without a cent, I went back to work, my youngest daughter, who was four, convinced me. When I was in a coma and she touched my bedsheet to wake me up.”
The soccer ace has five children in total – daughters Dalma and Gianinna from his marriage to Claudia Villafane; love child Diego Sinagra, another son called Diego and a daughter called Jana.
And in 2015, he revealed he’d finally beaten his demons and had been clean for an impressive 12 years.
“I’m about to be 12 years clean from drugs because it does not let me wake up every morning the way I do today,” he said in a Facebook video.
Explaining what kept him on the straight and narrow, he added: “I have chosen to live life for my daughters, grandchildren and those still to come.”