Maradona Doctors Face Premeditated Murder Charge Over Star’s Death

FILES) This handout file photo taken on November 11, 2020 and released by the press officer of Diego Armando Maradona shows Argentine football legend Diego Maradona (R) shaking hands with his doctor Leopoldo Luque in Olivos, Buenos Aires province, Argentina.
Diego Maradona press office / AFP

 

Seven people under investigation over the November death of Argentine footballing legend Diego Maradona face charges of premeditated murder, AFP has learned from a judicial source.

The accused — which include Maradona’s neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz — face eight to 25 years in prison if found guilty.

The indictment is based on findings by a board of experts into Maradona’s death from a heart attack last year, a source from the San Isidro Attorney General’s Office, which is leading the investigation, said Wednesday.

That report concluded that the footballing icon received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period” before his death, which came just weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot.

“After so many injustices, the case has come full circle,” the source told AFP.

The accused are prohibited from leaving the country and must appear ahead of an inquiry between May 31 and June 14.

The legal proceedings were prompted by a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five daughters against Luque, who they blamed for their father’s deteriorating condition after the brain surgery.

Prosecutors believe Maradona’s death was not the result of malpractice or negligent actions of his doctors, but that they knew the former soccer star would die and did nothing to prevent it.

The prosecutors obtained a series of messages and audio that show that the medical team were aware that Maradona was using alcohol, psychiatric medication and marijuana in the last months of his life.

Among the conclusions of the report, the medical board said that “the signs of life risk” shown by the former Naples and Barcelona star were ignored, and that his care in his final weeks was “plagued by deficiencies and irregularities”.

The recriminations and accusations over Maradona’s death are taking place alongside another case, over his disputed inheritance, involving his five children, his brothers and Matias Morla, his former lawyer.

Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only their second World Cup triumph in 1986.

-AFP

Maradona Was Left To ‘Fate’ Ahead Of Death – Expert Panel

Maradona To Quit Job At Mexican Club Dorados Over 'Referee Bias'
Argentine legend Diego Maradona, coach of Mexican second-division club Dorados, looks on during a football match against Venados de Merida, in Culiacan, Sinaloa State, Mexico, on April 5, 2019. RASHIDE FRIAS / AFP

 

 

Argentine football icon Diego Maradona received inadequate medical care and was left to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period” before he died last year, an expert medical panel concluded Friday.

In a 70-page document, the panel stated that Maradona, who succumbed to a heart attack on November 25 at the age of 60, “started to die at least 12 hours before” the moment he was found dead in his bed.

Maradona died just weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot.

A panel of 20 experts was convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor to examine the cause of death and to determine if there had been any negligence.

Maradona’s neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz are under investigation as well as two nurses, a nursing coordinator and a medical coordinator.

The finding could result in a case of wrongful death, and a prison sentence of up to 15 years if convicted.

The legal proceedings were prompted by a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five daughters against Luque, whom they blamed for their father’s deteriorating condition after the brain operation.

Maradona underwent surgery on November 3, just four days after he celebrated his 60th birthday at the club he coached, Gimnasia y Esgrima.

However, he appeared in poor health then, and had trouble speaking.

– ‘Deficiencies and irregularities’ –
Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions during his life.

He was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

Two of the football great’s daughters have accused Luque of responsibility in Maradona’s deteriorating health.

The panel concluded that Maradona “would have had a better chance of survival” with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.

He died in his bed in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighborhood, where he was receiving home care.

Maradona did not have “full use of his mental faculties” and should not have been left to decide where he would be treated, the experts said.

They also found that his treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities” and the medical team had left his survival “to fate”.

Sebastian Sanchi, a former spokesman for Maradona, told AFP, “it is clear that the panel says that things were not done right.”

Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only its second World Cup triumph in 1986.

An attacking midfielder who spent two years with Spanish giants Barcelona, he is also loved in Naples where he helped Napoli win the only two Serie A titles in the club’s history.

‘They Abandoned Maradona’ – Lawyer Accuses Legend’s Daughters Of Stealing

In this file photo taken on February 26, 2013, Football legend Argentinian Diego Maradona gestures during a press conference in Naples. CARLO HERMANN / AFP

 

Two daughters of the late football legend, Diego Maradona have been accused of stealing and abandonment by Matías Morla, a former lawyer to the late Argentine.

Dalma and Gianinna Maradona have been involved in a bitter inheritance dispute with Morla over Maradona’s image rights and estate amounting to £ 60million.

The Argentine lawyer speaking in an interview with America TV on Monday night hit back at the heiresses insisting they profited from the star’s demise.

“He was fighting to the death with Dalma and Gianinna — he felt betrayed and robbed,” he said.

“They abandoned Maradona. He died alone.”

 

Diego Maradona is kissed by his daughters Giannina (left) and DalmaCredit: AFP

 

Morla further claimed he was disliked by the late legend’s daughters for cutting them off from Maradona’s wealth while stating his former client’s sisters, son and ex-girlfriend were the constant presence before his death.

“The girls do not love me since we cut their credit cards in June 2014,” he said.

“Apart from the sisters with whom he spoke every day and Veronica Ojeda, who went to see him with Dieguito Fernando, his son.”

Dalma and Gianinna had earlier accused Morla of kidnapping their father which led to a raid on the lawyer’s offices for fraud-related matters on Monday.

The daughters equally blamed the lawyer and company Sattvica for “dishonesty” in managing their father’s brand and had an injunction preventing the company from further using the brand.

Morla was quick to denounce the claims insisting they were just out for his late client’s money further adding that the former world cup winner submitted a signed document to that effect with a Dubai court in 2015 or 2016.

“Diego said: ‘The Maradona brand will look after my sisters, the image will look after my heirs.'”

Maradona was involved in substance abuse from the mid-1980s to 2004 which led to several visits to health centres for rehabilitation treatment. The Hand-Of god star underwent emergency brain surgery to treat a subdural hematoma on 12 November.

He later died of a heart attack at 60 years on the 25th of November 2020.

 

Argentine Fans Protest To Demand ‘Justice’ For Diego Maradona

Dalma Maradona, daughter of the Argentinian late football player Diego Maradona, is seen during a demonstration to ask justice for his death, in Buenos Aires, on March 10, 2021. PHOTO: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP

 

Hundreds of Argentine football fans demonstrated on Wednesday in Buenos Aires to demand justice for superstar player Diego Maradona, who died on November 25 in circumstances under investigation.

“Maradona has been left to die and it is not fair, it is not fair that a person who gave us Argentines so much ends up like that,” Abel Chorolque, a 44-year-old cab driver, told AFP at the protest.

Maradona, who was 60, died of a heart attack just weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot.

READ ALSO: Liverpool Ease Past RB Leipzig Into Champions League Last Eight

Investigators are looking into the health treatment he received prior to his death to determine whether or not to bring a case of wrongful death, a conviction for which would result in a prison sentence of up to 15 years.

The “10M” demonstration was organized on social media by different Maradona fan groups under the slogan “Justice for Diego, he did not die, he was killed.”

Claudia Villafane (C), ex-wife of the Argentinian late football player Diego Maradona, Giannina Maradona (1-L) and Dalma Maradona (2-L), daughters of the football player, are seen during a demonstration to ask justice for his death, in Buenos Aires, on March 10, 2021. PHOTO: RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP

 

Two of his adult daughters, Dalma and Gianinna, as well as the youngest of his five children — Diego Fernando, 8 — were at the protest, though they had to leave as the atmosphere turned tense.

As darkness fell some in the crowd chanted death threats against Matias Morla, Maradona’s last lawyer, who would have appointed the medical team that treated him at the end of his life.

Maradona underwent surgery on November 3, just four days after he celebrated his 60th birthday at the club he coached, Gimnasia y Esgrima.

However, he appeared in poor health then and had trouble speaking.

Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions during his life. He was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

A panel of experts, made up of 10 official specialists and 10 more selected by the interested parties, is due to deliver its findings on his cause of death in two or three weeks.

Maradona’s neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and psychologist Carlos Diaz are under investigation as well as two nurses, a nursing coordinator, and a medical coordinator.

AFP

Argentina Calls Medical Board To Rule On Maradona Death

In this file photo taken on February 26, 2013, Football legend Argentinian Diego Maradona gestures during a press conference in Naples. CARLO HERMANN / AFP

 

Argentina’s public prosecutor’s office will convene a medical board on March 8 to decide whether or not late football legend Diego Maradona was given proper treatment before his death, legal sources said on Tuesday.

Maradona died of a heart attack on November 25, weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot.

Investigators are trying to determine whether or not there was negligence in Maradona’s health care before he died.

Nine experts will be called on March 8 including the medical examiners that took part in Maradona’s autopsy.

The public prosecutor in San Isidro, a suburb of the capital Buenos Aires, has also called two more witnesses to appear before investigators on Thursday: a nursing coordinator and the doctor tasked with coordinating Maradona’s home care during the days before he died.

Five other people, including neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque and psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, are already under investigation in the involuntary manslaughter probe.

The latest two people included in the investigation were members of a WhatsApp chat group discussing Maradona’s care, local media reported.

Two of Maradona’s daughters — Gianinna, 31, and Jana, 24 — will also appear before prosecutors on Thursday.

They have accused Luque of responsibility in Maradona’s deteriorating health.

A first autopsy conducted the day Maradona died found he had suffered from liquid on the lungs with acute heart failure brought on by a disease of the heart muscles that makes it harder to pump blood. His heart was twice the normal size.

Maradona is an idol to millions of Argentines after he inspired the South American country to only its second World Cup triumph in 1986.

An attacking midfielder who spent two years with Spanish giants Barcelona, he is also loved in Naples where he helped Napoli win the only two Serie A titles in the club’s history.

He was coach of Argentine top flight outfit Gimnasia y Esgrima when he died.

He had celebrated his 60th birthday on October 30 at the club but looked in poor physical health and seemed to have trouble speaking.

Sources close to Maradona said he suffered from depression during eight months of coronavirus restrictions that confined him to home as he was considered a high-risk person.

Maradona was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders when he died.

He had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions during his life.

-AFP

Maradona Death Probe Widens To Include Nurses, Psychologist

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 09, 2001 Argentinian football star Diego Maradona greets the public in the “La Bombonera” stadium of Boca Juniors Athletic club in Buenos Aires. ALI BURAFI / AFP

 

 

A psychologist and two nurses who helped care for football legend Diego Maradona before his death have been added to a widening involuntary manslaughter probe, a judicial source told local media Monday.

Maradona died of a heart attack outside Buenos Aires on November 25, weeks after undergoing brain surgery on a blood clot.

His psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and heart surgeon Leopoldo Luque are already under investigation, as they were treating Maradona before his death.

The three people newly under investigation must appear before prosecutors this week, the judicial source told local media.

Investigators are trying to determine if any of the five people who had Maradona in their care were in any way negligent.

Maradona was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders, but there were no signs of alcohol or narcotics consumption, according to his autopsy.

Luque, the surgeon, in November responded to the launch of an investigation for involuntary manslaughter by saying he did “everything he could, up to the impossible” for an “unmanageable” patient.

A first autopsy conducted the day Maradona died found he had suffered from liquid on the lungs with acute heart failure brought on by a disease of the heart muscles that makes it harder to pump blood.

Pope Francis Recalls His Youth Playing Football, Dubs Maradona “Poet”

A combination picture of Diego Maradona and Pope Francis.

 

With a ball made from rags and surging adrenaline, the young Jorge Bergoglio and his friends pulled off “miracles” playing football in the street, Pope Francis recalled on Saturday. 

Now 84, the Argentine pope remembered “the joy, the happiness on everyone’s faces,” after the 1946 victory of his Buenos Aires team, San Lorenzo, in a 31-page interview about sport published Saturday in Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The first pope from Latin America called Diego Maradona a “poet” on the field, as he weighed in on the joys of sport.

Expounding on themes of hard work, sacrifice and camaraderie, Francis shared memories of the makeshift footballs that sufficed to exhilarate him and his boyhood friends.

“Leather cost too much and we were poor, rubber wasn’t used so much yet, but for us all we needed was a ball of rags to amuse ourselves and to create miracles, almost, playing in the little square near home,” Francis said.

Acknowledging he was “not among the best” of the footballers, Bergoglio played goalkeeper, which he characterised as a good school for learning how to respond to “dangers that could arrive from anywhere”.

The pontiff — described by the paper as “a pope of the people in the most noble sense of the term” —  touched on the need for teamwork and working towards a shared goal.

“Either you play together, or you risk crashing. That’s how small groups, capable of staying united, succeed in taking down bigger teams incapable of working together,” he said.

The interview, which took place in early December at the Vatican, also saw the pope condemn doping in sport and  stress the need to nurture talent through hard work.

“It’s not only a cheat, a shortcut that revokes dignity, but it’s also wanting to steal from God that spark which, through his mysterious ways, he gave to some in a special and greater form,” he said.

Francis called the Olympics “one of the highest forms of human ecumenism”, involving “sharing effort for a better world”.

– Fragile poet –
He recalled meeting Argentine footballer Maradona, who died in November, during a “match for peace” in Rome in 2014.

“On the field he was a poet, a great champion who brought joy to millions of people, in Argentina as well as Naples. He was also a very fragile man,” Francis said.

The pontiff said that after learning of Maradona’s death, he prayed for him and sent a rosary to his family with some words of comfort.

The pope, who has made inclusion of marginalised people one of the central themes of his papacy, shared his amazement and emotion at the accomplishments of the athletes who compete in the Paralympic Games, while expressing disappointment at “rich champions” turned “sluggish, almost bureaucrats of their sport.”

Sport, he said, was marked by the efforts of so many of those who, “with sweat on their brows” beat those born with “talent in their pockets”

“The poor thirst for redemption: give them a book, a pair of shoes, a ball and they show themselves capable of unimaginable achievements.”

Maradona: Autopsy Rules Out Alcohol, Drugs

(FILES) In this file photo taken on March 07, 2020 Argentine former football star Diego Maradona acknowledges spectators during an homage before the start of the Argentina First Division 2020 Superliga Tournament football match Boca Juniors vs Gimnasia La Plata, at La Bombonera stadium, in Buenos Aires.
ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP

 

Argentina football legend Diego Maradona was suffering from liver, kidney and cardiovascular disorders but there were no signs of alcohol or narcotics consumption in his autopsy, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday.

World Cup winning captain from Mexico ’86, Maradona died of a heart-attack on November 25 at the age of 60.

The public prosecutor in San Isidro, a northern suburb of the capital Buenos Aires, published the results of Maradona’s autopsy late on Tuesday night.

It was ordered as part of an investigation into his death to see if there was any negligence or recklessness in the health care he was provided.

At the end of his life he was suffering from a variety of illnesses including cirrhosis, heart disease and kidney failure.

The toxicology analysis showed there was no alcohol or narcotics in his blood or urine but Maradona was taking anti-depressants, an anti-psychotic drug and various other medication to treat ulcers, convulsions, dependencies and difficulties in expelling waste.

Maradona had battled cocaine and alcohol addictions during his life.

“What’s come out of the laboratory analysis is as important as what hasn’t, which simply confirms that Maradona was given psychotropic drugs but no medicine for heart disease,” one of the investigators told the Telam press agency.

Psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov and heart surgeon Leopoldo Luque are under investigation as they were treating Maradona before his death.

A first autopsy conducted the day Maradona died found he had suffered from liquid on the lungs with acute heart failure brought on by a disease of the heart muscles that makes it harder to pump blood.

Maradona’s heart was twice the normal weight.

He had undergone an operation for a bleed on the brain on November 3, just five days after his 60th birthday where he briefly attended a party in his honor at the club he was coaching, Gimnasia y Esgrima, although he appeared to be in poor health.

Maradona was widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time.

He is a legend in his homeland having been instrumental in guiding them to World Cup glory in 1986 and then again to the final in Italy four years later.

He is also an icon in Naples were as a player he helped Napoli win the only two Serie A titles in their history.

He had much less success as a coach, taking Argentina to the World Cup quarter-finals in South Africa in 2010 before embarking on a nomadic journey that took him to the United Arab Emirates and Mexico.

He was the coach of Argentine Primera Division side Gimnasia at the time of his death.

Napoli Renames Stadium After Maradona

 In this file photo taken on November 26, 2020 An homage to late Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona is displayed on a board (L) and on screen (Top L) prior to the UEFA Europe League Group F football match Napoli vs Rijeka on November 26, 2020 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP
In this file photo taken on November 26, 2020 An homage to late Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona is displayed on a board (L) and on screen (Top L) prior to the UEFA Europe League Group F football match Napoli vs Rijeka on November 26, 2020 at the San Paolo stadium in Naples. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

 

Napoli’s stadium has been renamed after Diego Maradona in memory of the late Argentine who led the club to two Italian league titles, Naples town hall said Friday.

The city authorities and the club’s president had proposed renaming the San Paolo Stadium within hours of Maradona’s death on November 25.

“The decree was signed by the entire city council,” the city government said in a statement.

READ ALSO: ‘I Love You, Diego’ – Pele Pens Message For Maradona

The statement hailed Maradona as “the greatest footballer of all time who, with his immense talent and magic, honoured the Naples jersey for seven years, offering it two Italian league titles and other prestigious trophies, and receiving, in exchange, the eternal and unconditional love of the entire city”.

Napoli’s next home game will be next Thursday in the Europa League against Real Sociedad.

Napoli have already paid homage to Maradona, who played for the club from 1984 to 1991, in two home games.

The players wore his number ten for a minute’s silence in a Europa League game the day after Maradona’s death. In Serie A on Sunday gainst Roma the team played in a jersey reminiscent of the Argentine colours, designed as a tribute to Maradona.

‘I Love You, Diego’ – Pele Pens Message For Maradona

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 09, 2016 former Argentinian football international Diego Maradona (L) and former Brazilian footballer Pele pose after a football match organised by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot at the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris, on the eve of the Euro 2016 European football championships. – Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020. (Photo by PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP)

 

“I love you, Diego” Pele has written on social media, a week after the death of his “great friend” Diego Maradona, a “genius who enchanted the world”. 

In Brazil, it is common to pay homage to the deceased a week after their death, when a “seventh-day mass” is celebrated by Catholics like Pele.

The two players are often rated against each other in discussions about who was the greatest of all time but Pele insisted in his Instagram post on Wednesday night that the Argentinian was second to none.

“The world would be much better if we could compare each other less and start admiring each other more. So, I want to say that you are beyond comparison,” said the three-time World Cup winner.

The post is illustrated with a series of photos of the two legends together, including one showing a young Maradona all smiles next to Pele playing the guitar.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pelé (@pele)

“Your journey was marked by honesty. You have always declared your loves and dislikes to the four winds.

“And in your unique and particular way, you taught us that we have to love and say “I love you” a lot more often.

“Your quick departure didn’t let me say it to you, so I will just write: I love you, Diego.”

Although they did not play at the same time, the two legends always had a certain rivalry, including at the turn of the millenium when Pele was crowned “Player of the (20th) Century” by FIFA while Maradona won a public vote.

“You were a genius that enchanted the world,” said Pele.

“A magician with the ball at his feet. A true legend. But above all that, for me, you will always be a great friend, with an even bigger heart.⠀ ⠀

“One day in heaven we will play together in the same team. And it will be the first time that I will raise my fist to the sky not to celebrate a goal, but because I can finally embrace you again.”

Maradona’s Surgeon Responds Tearfully To Investigation Into Star’s Death

FILES) This handout file photo taken on November 11, 2020 and released by the press officer of Diego Armando Maradona shows Argentine football legend Diego Maradona (R) shaking hands with his doctor Leopoldo Luque in Olivos, 
Diego Maradona press office / AFP

 

Diego Maradona’s surgeon responded to the launch of an investigation for involuntary manslaughter by saying he did “everything he could, up to the impossible” for an “unmanageable” patient.

Earlier in the day prosecutors in San Isidro, near Buenos Aires, said they were investigating Leopoldo Luque while Argentine television showed police raiding the doctor’s surgery and home.

A statement from the prosecutors’ office later said they had begun analysing material gathered and clarified that “no decisions have been made at the moment regarding the procedural situation of any person.”

The probe was triggered by concerns raised by Maradona’s daughters Dalma, Gianinna and Jana over the treatment he received for his heart condition at his home in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires, judicial sources said.

Maradona died of a heart attack on Wednesday aged 60, and was buried on Thursday at the Jardin de Paz cemetery on the outskirts of the Argentine capital.

“Our investigations are ongoing, we are talking to witnesses including members of the family” of Maradona, a source close to the San Isidro inquiry said.

“The clinic had recommended that he go elsewhere to be hospitalised, but the family decided otherwise. His daughters signed for him to be discharged from the hospital,” said a family member, on the condition of anonymity.

Later in the day, Luque, who is no relation to Maradona’s former Argentina team-mate of the same name, gave an emotional televised news conference.

“You want to know what I am responsible for?” the 39-year-old doctor asked between sobs. “For having loved him, for having taken care of him, for having extended his life, for having improved it to the end.”

Luque said he did “everything he could, up to the impossible” and considered himself a “friend” of Maradona and saw him “as a father, not as a patient”.

Luque had posted a photograph of himself with Maradona when the former player left hospital on November 12, eight days after the doctor operated to remove a brain blood clot. Maradona returned home to Tigre where he received round-the-clock medical care and could remain close to his daughters.

“He should have gone to a rehabilitation centre. He didn’t want to,” said Luque who called Maradona “unmanageable”.

 

READ ALSO: Maradona’s Doctor Investigated For Involuntary Manslaughter

 

– ‘Nothing to hide’ –

Luque said he did not know why there was no defibrillator in case of a heart attack in Maradona’s home in Tigre, and made clear that the home care was not his responsibility.

“I am a neurosurgeon,” said Luque.

“I am the person who has been taking care of him. I’m proud of everything I’ve done. I have nothing to hide. I am at the disposal of justice.”

Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, had called for an investigation into claims that ambulances took more than half an hour to reach the football star’s house in response to an emergency call on the day of his death.

Luque said an ambulance should have been parked outside.

“A psychiatrist had asked that there should always be an ambulance in front of his house. I don’t know who is responsible for the fact that there was no ambulance,” Luque said.

Diego “was very sad, he wanted to be alone, and it’s not because he didn’t love his daughters, his family, or those around him,” Luque said. “He was brave.”

A judicial source told AFP that no official complaint has yet been filed.

“The case was initiated because he is a person who died at home and no one signed his death certificate. It does not mean there are suspicions or irregularities,” the source said, requesting to remain anonymous.

A preliminary autopsy report established that Maradona died in his sleep at noon on Wednesday of “acute lung oedema and chronic heart failure”.

The prosecutor’s office is awaiting the results of toxicological tests on Maradona’s body. The three prosecutors working on the case have requested his medical records, as well as recordings from neighbourhood security cameras.

-AFP

Argentine Prosecutors Probe Maradona’s Death

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 09, 2001 Argentinian football star Diego Maradona greets the public in the “La Bombonera” stadium of Boca Juniors Athletic club in Buenos Aires. AFP

 

Argentine prosecutors were investigating Friday the circumstances surrounding the death of Diego Maradona and whether it could have involved medical negligence, judicial sources said.

“There are already irregularities,” a close family member told AFP.

Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, had earlier called for an investigation into claims that ambulances took more than half an hour to reach the football star’s house in response to an emergency call on the day of his death.

A preliminary autopsy report established that Maradona died in his sleep at noon on Wednesday of “acute lung edema and chronic heart failure.”

The prosecutor’s office in Buenos Aires has opened a file entitled “Maradona, Diego. Determination of the cause of death.”

“The case was initiated because he is a person who died at home and no one signed his death certificate. It does not mean there are suspicions or irregularities,” a judicial source said, requesting to remain anonymous.

The 60-year-old Argentine football legend was receiving round-the-clock medical care at a house in a gated community in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires, where he was recuperating from surgery to remove a clot on his brain in early November.

“You have to see if they did what they were supposed to do or if they relaxed,” the family member told AFP.

“The nurse made a statement when the prosecutor appeared on the day of Diego’s death, then expanded her statement and finally went on television to say that what she said was forced on her, so there is some contradiction in her statement,” the close relative said.

The prosecutor’s office is awaiting the results of toxicological tests on Maradona’s body.

The three prosecutors working on the case have requested the star’s medical records, as well as recordings from neighborhood security cameras.

Another nurse caring for Maradona was likely the last person to see the star alive, at dawn on Wednesday, prosecutors said in a statement on Friday.

“From his words, it could be established that he was the last person to see (Maradona) alive at approximately 6:30 in the morning,” as the night shift at the star’s house was ending, it said.

The nurse, interviewed by prosecutors on Thursday, “referred to having found him resting in his bed, assuring that he was sleeping and breathing normally.”

Maradona’s nephew Johnny Herrera was previously believed to have been the last person to see Maradona, at 11:30 pm on Tuesday.

Prosecutors said the nurse present in his house at the time of death told them that she had heard Maradona “moving around inside the room” at 7:30 am.

They said that at 12:17 pm, “Maradona’s personal secretary requested medical assistance, and an ambulance from the company +VIDA was present at 12:28 pm, according to film records from the San Andres neighborhood obtained by the prosecutor’s office.”

Several ambulances from other medical service providers arrived later.

Investigators have also established that Maradona’s personal doctor, Leopoldo Luque, had already made a 911 call at 12:16 pm, requesting an ambulance.

AFP