Diego Maradona dead: Cesar Luis Menotti pays tribute as Argentina announce mourning period

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Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez has decreed three days of mourning following the death of Diego Maradona.

The Argentine Football Association confirmed the news, declaring: “The Argentine Football Association, through its president Claudio Tapia, expresses its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend, Diego Armando Maradona. You will always be in our hearts.”

The footballer’s family have yet to make any formal comment.

Nine ambulances were sent to the house around midday local time on Wednesday in the exclusive gated residential neighbourhood of San Andres north of Buenos Aires where Maradona went to live after leaving hospital.

Local reports said one of the nurses caring for him had raised the alarm after discovering he had suffered a suspected heart attack.

None of the medical responders who rushed to the house were able to do anything to save him.

Maradona during his pomp, in 1986
(Image: Getty Images)

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Argentina’s former manager Cesar Luis Menotti said: “I’m devastated. I can’t believe it. I’m absolutely gutted.

"There’s no more I can say at this moment. I thought at first the news of his death was fake news but obviously it’s what happened.

"It’s terrible and a tragic surprise because measures had been taken to make sure he was being looked after.”

Maradona and Menotti in 1983
(Image: EFE/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

There is no suggestion there is anything suspicious about Maradona’s death, but state prosecutors are on their way to the house where the soccer legend died as part of a routine investigation.

A team of psychologists are also understood to be on their way to the property.

Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez posted a photo of him embracing the soccer legend and wrote: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all.

“Thank you for having existed Diego. We’re going to miss you forever.”

Arguably the greatest footballer of all time
(Image: Icon Sport via Getty Images)

Tributes have already begun pouring in for the former Barcelona and Napoli superstar.

Real Madrid – great rivals of one of Maradona’s former clubs, Barcelona – paid tribute to “one of the greatest players in all history”.

“Diego Armando Maradona leaves an immense legacy, which has become a myth for millions of fans around the world,” the club said in a statement.

Liverpool tweeted: “A true great of the game. Rest in peace, Diego Maradona.”

Boca Juniors, where Maradona made his name before securing a then world-record transfer to Barcelona, tweeted: “Eternal thanks. Eternal Diego.”

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