A photo mistakenly circulated as the final picture of Diego Maradona alive led to an apology from the legend’s personal physician to the Argentine’s family.
Maradona, the World Cup winner and arguably the greatest footballer of all-time, tragically died on Wednesday at the age of 60.
He suffered cardiac arrest at his home in Buenos Aires, where he had been recovering since undergoing a brain operation earlier this month.
At the time, Leopoldo Luque had shared a picture with Maradona from his hospital bed.
According to Clarin, the photo led to anger among Maradona’s family, unhappy at the release of the picture on social media.
Luque duly apologised, prior to Maradona’s death, stating: “I thought that this photo was going to have a very good acceptance from everyone, but it was not so.
“So I offer my apologies to those who felt offended, criticised or believed that the photo was not appropriate.
“Secondly, the photo was agreed with Diego.
“I want to clarify that it was not my decision. It was not something that I decided on my own.”
However despite a multitude of reports across the world proclaiming it as such, Luque’s controversial snapshot was not the the final picture of the former Barcelona and Napoli icon.
Instead, that was actually taken by his son, Diego Fernando, and shared on the social media site Instagram last week, who declared: “I miss you so much Dad.”
Son of former partner Veronica Ojeda, the seven-year-old had visited Maradona at his home on the outskirts of the Argentine capital, where he was recovering.
Maradona’s death has led to widespread tributes across the world, while schools in Naples, where he was worshipped, have closed.
Napoli, where Maradona enjoyed his greatest successes as a footballer at club level, are set to rename their stadium in his honour, replacing St Paul, who’s name currently adorns the ground.
Argentina itself will hold three days of mourning.
“His unparalleled footballing skill transformed him into one of the best-known people in the world, crossing frontiers and being universally recognised as the world’s best player,” said the official mourning decree.
“He was someone who touched the sky with his hands but never took his feet off the ground,” said president Alberto Fernandez on Wednesday.
A post-mortem confirmed that Maradona had suffered heart failure, which caused a pulmonary edema.
It’s stated that dilated cardiomyopathy, a medical condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened and enlarged and cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body, was also detected.
Maradona’s body is currently lying in state at the presidential palace in the capital, his wooden coffin adorned by the blue and white national flag, plus No.10 shirts worn by Maradona from both the national team and Boca Juniors.
A funeral chapel has been installed at the Casa Rosada, where fans can pay tribute also.
Thousands took to the streets in Buenos Aires overnight to pay their respects, and have lined up today to pay their final respects. Unfortunately, there were also instances of clashes between crowds and riot police.
Brazilian legend Pele led the tributes to Maradona following his death, saying: “I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend.
“May God give strength to family members. One day I hope we can play ball together in the sky.”
Former Spurs star Ossie Ardiles, who played alongside Maradona, said he was “the best footballer in the history of football”.
He added: “So many enjoyable moments together. Impossible to say which one was the best. RIP my dear friend.”
Maradona’s former lawyer and long-time friend, Matias Morla, is publicly demanding an investigation into his death.
He alleged that “criminal idiocy” helped lead to the football icon’s death.
In tribute, he also added: “To define Diego in this moment of deep desolation and pain I can say: he was a good son, he was the best soccer player in history and he was an honest person.
“Rest in peace, brother.”
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