Diego Maradona dies: Three days of mourning begin in Argentina as tributes pour in

Diego Maradona (centre) and Ossie Ardiles (right) played together at the 1982 World Cup

Today’s football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo “could not even dream” of being admired as much as Diego Maradona was, says his former Argentina team-mate Ossie Ardiles.

Three days of national mourning have begun in Argentina after Maradona died on Wednesday at the age of 60.

His body will lie in state at the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, during that time.

“To be Diego Maradona was incredibly beautiful,” Ardiles told the BBC.

“But on the other hand, it was not easy at all. Right from a really early age, he was subject to the press all the time. He didn’t have a normal childhood, he never had normal teenage years.

“Everybody wanted to be with him, everybody wanted a piece of him, so it was incredibly difficult.”

Maradona, who played for clubs including Barcelona and Napoli, was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

Former Tottenham midfielder Ardiles, who played alongside Maradona at the 1982 World Cup, said he was “a god” in Argentina, in Naples and all around the world.

“He will be remembered as a genius in football,” he added. “You can see the extraordinary amount of interest that he generates.

“People like [Juventus and Portugal striker] Ronaldo, or people like [Barcelona and Argentina forward] Messi, they couldn’t even dream of having this kind of admiration.

“That was the Maradona phenomenon – all the time.”

A post-mortem examination was due to take place on Maradona’s body later on Wednesday after he died at about midday local time at his home in Tigre, near Buenos Aires.

The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

A minute’s silence took place before Wednesday’s Champions League matches and the same will happen before all other European fixtures this week.

Messi and Ronaldo were among current players to pay tribute, while Brazilian football great Pele said he hoped one day they would “play ball together in the sky”.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Maradona “made world football better”.

“There was a banner in Argentina, one year ago, that I read that said: ‘No matter what you have done with your life, Diego, it matters what you do for our lives,'” former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola added.

“It expresses perfectly what this guy gave us. The man of joy and pleasure and his commitment for world football.”

Former Tottenham manager and Argentina defender Mauricio Pochettino said: “Broken with pain. Diego, you were my hero and friend. I was so fortunate to have shared football and life with you.”

The Vatican said Pope Francis, an Argentine and a football fan, would be remembering Maradona in his prayers.

Fans mourn their hero

In Argentina, Wednesday’s match between Sport Club Internacional and Maradona’s former club Boca Juniors was postponed.

Fans flocked to La Bombonera, Boca Juniors’ stadium in Buenos Aires, where many were in tears – despite, in the case of some, being too young to remember Maradona’s playing days.

They also congregated in the San Andres neighbourhood, where Maradona lived, and to La Plata, where he most recently was manager of local club Gimnasia y Esgrima.

In the country’s capital, “gracias Diego” replaced train information on digital metro signs, while fans sang La Mano De Dios (The Hand Of God) in city suburbs.

Boca Juniors women's player Yamila Rodriguez cries in front of graffiti image of Diego Maradona

Thousands of miles away, they also gathered outside Napoli’s San Paolo stadium, which was lit up in tribute to the man who scored 81 goals in 188 appearances for the Italian club.

Fireworks erupted in the sky as those below, clad in Maradona shirts and even Maradona face masks, chanted and wept.

Presentational grey lineAnalysis box by Katy Watson, South America correspondent

Maradona wasn’t just a sportsman for Argentinians, he was an icon, a political player and of course, a loveable rogue. There is deep sadness as people prepare to pay their respects to their superstar footballer.

But his influence goes beyond Argentina – South Americans are proud of their footballing heritage so this news has resonated across the region.

In neighbouring Brazil, where their man Pele vied for the title of world’s best footballer, Maradona’s death was headline news – much of the rivalry between the two countries can be put down to the two players, such is the passion for the beautiful game here.

But rivalry was put aside with Pele paying tribute to Maradona as a dear friend.

“One day, I hope, we will have a kick about together in heaven,” he said.

Presentational grey line

A statement from Napoli said: “Everyone is waiting for our words but what words could we possibly use for a pain such as this that we are going through?

“Now is the moment for tears. Then there will be the moment for words.

“We are in mourning. We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out. We are in shock. A devastating blow for both city and club.”

A day of mourning will take place in Naples on Thursday.

The mayor of the city, Luigi de Magistris, has called for the Stadio San Paolo be renamed in honour of Maradona.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Paul Elliott, who played against Maradona while at Pisa, said: “I have to say it was remarkable. There was a sublime talent that this man had, an aura, a presence, and you know when you feel a sense of energy.

“Napoli is a very poor part of the south of Italy, but their whole world was built around Maradona and Napoli.

“If you look at where the club was when he arrived, the impact of one man unequivocally was the key and the catalyst to the success that they had, and the way he just gave everybody hope.

“That was just by his remarkable, sublime talent.”

Fans gather outside Napoli's stadiumA Napoli fan cries while looking at Maradona tributesA mother and son mourn Maradona outside La BomboneraA fan wearing a Maradona Argentina shirt looks at a tribute in Buenos AiresA woman lights a candle at a tribute in La Plata

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White Island survivor, 64, who suffered serious burns in volcano explosion dies in hospital 

24 Australians were among 47 tourists on New Zealand’s White Island when it erupted.   


Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, from Brisbane.

Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, (pictured) from Brisbane are among the dead

Martin Hollander and his wife Barbara

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney.

His two sons Berend, 16, and Matthew, 13, who attended Sydney’s Knox Grammar, both died in hospital after suffering serious injuries in the blast.  

According to his Linkedin profile, Mr Hollander works at Transport for NSW as a freight initiatives manager.

He is also a director at a Singaporean investment management firm, Wipunen Incrementum Capital.

Mr Hollander and Mrs Hollander’s bodies were later recovered from the island.

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, was formally identified on Monday. His wife Barbara (left) is yet to be formally identified

Martin Berend Hollander, 48, from Sydney, was formally identified on Monday. His wife Barbara (left) is yet to be formally identified 

Gavin Dallow, 53, and stepdaughter Zoe Hosking, 15, from Adelaide 

Lisa Dallow's 15-year-old daughter Zoe (pictured) has been confirmed dead

Gavin Dallow, from Adelaide, has been confirmed dead

The Hosking/Dallow family had been on a tour at the time of the eruption. Mum Lisa Dallow is among the injured in hospital. Her husband Gavin (right) 53, and 15-year-old daughter Zoe, from Adelaide, (left) were confirmed dead

Mr Dallow’s body was identified by police from the five bodies recovered from the island. Zoe was later formally identified as a victim. 

Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, from Coffs Harbour, NSW 

Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour

Karla Mathews (left), 32, is dead as is boyfriend Richard Elzer (right), 32, from Coffs Harbour

The couple were identified as those tourists still on the island and therefore presumed dead by their families.

Jason Griffiths, 33, Coffs Harbour, NSW  

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour was taken to hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries on Wednesday 

Jason Griffiths, 33, from Coffs Harbour, NSW, died from his injuries after being taken to hospital in critical condition.  

He had been on a tour of the volcano with couple Karla Mathews, 32, and Richard Elzer, 32, who are now presumed dead, friends said.  

Matthew (Year 8) and Berend Hollander (Year 10) from Sydney

Matthew Hollander

Berend Hollander

Matthew (left, year eight) and Berend (right, year 10) Hollander were confirmed dead on Thursday morning

Knox Grammar schoolboy brothers Matthew, 13, and Berend, 16, Hollander.

They died in two New Zealand hospitals after escaping the island with horrific burns. 

Their father Martin and mother Barbara were confirmed dead.

Krystal Browitt, 21, from Melbourne, and her father Paul

Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family

Krystal Browitt was on the cruise for her 21st birthday with family

Ms Browitt was on the Ovation of the Seas cruise for her 21st birthday with family.

Mr Browitt died on 13 January in hospital.

Their mother Marie escaped death by staying on the cruise liner. 

Anthony Langford, 51, and his wife Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney 

Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday

Anthony Langford, 51, (pictured with wife Kristine) had been among those still unaccounted for in the disaster. He was confirmed dead by police on Sunday 

Kristine Langford, 45, from Sydney, is also among those dead. 

The couple’s 19-year-old son Jesse survived the volcano eruption, and is recovering in hospital with burns to 90 per cent of his body.   

Mr Langford worked for Sydney Water. 

Winona Langford, 17, Sydney   

Police said Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived

Police said Winona Lanford (pictured centre back row between her parents Anthony and Kristine) was one of the missing bodies still on White Island. She is not thought to have survived 

NZ Police said one of the bodies still missing on White Island belonged to 17-year-old Winona Langford from Sydney. 

Winona’s mother and father have been confirmed dead.

Her body is either entombed on the deadly volcano island or is in the sea.  


Lisa Dallow, 49, from Adelaide

Lisa Dallow (right with her husband Gavin who is missing), 49, from Adelaide

Lisa Dallow (right with her husband Gavin who is missing), 49, from Adelaide

She was an induced coma in Hamilton Hospital, with 57 per cent of her body burnt.

Jesse Langford, 19, Sydney

Found: Jesse Langford (pictured with Michelle Spring, believed to be his girlfriend) is in hospital but his condition is not clear

Found: Jesse Langford (pictured with Michelle Spring, believed to be his girlfriend) is in hospital but his condition is not clear

He is reported to have suffered burns to 90 per cent of his body.


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James Wolfensohn, Aussie who led the World Bank for 10 years, dies at 86

But his main legacy was his stewardship of the World Bank, to which Clinton nominated him in 1995 after he had given up his Australian citizenship 14 years earlier to qualify for the job, only to be passed over. He regained his Aussie citizenship in 2010.

Arriving at the bank’s Washington headquarters to begin his first five-year term, he found life there too comfortable and its staff members demoralised — a professional malaise, he said, that had them denigrating the bank to their families and even to the news media.


He immediately attacked the bank’s “complacency and insularity,” as he put it. He found that the bank’s emphasis on technocratic, market-based reforms was inhibiting its central mission: aiding the world’s poorest countries.

“I was throwing a grenade into an entrenched culture,” he wrote in his 2010 memoir, “A global life: My journey among rich and poor, from Sydney to Wall Street to the World Bank.”

A priority for Wolfensohn was to make field visits to poor nations less ceremonial than his predecessors had, and to listen to poor people themselves describe their governance, history and culture. He mounted a campaign against corruption in World Bank projects, breaking what he called “a wall of silence” on the subject. His efforts led to stepped-up audits and put the issue higher on the agendas of developing countries.

“He made it acceptable to talk about corruption,” said Hazel Denton, then a senior project economist for the bank. “Until his time in office, we tended to sweep the topic under the carpet in the interest of getting projects ‘done’ and getting loans disbursed.”

Another Wolfensohn initiative was to shift the bank’s policy on debt incurred by its mostly impoverished African and South American client countries. Instead of insisting on repayment, he sought to write off much of the debt.

I was throwing a grenade into an entrenched culture.

James Wolfensohn about his entrance at the World Bank.

“How, I reasoned, could you have a lending business to borrowers of low credit and then pretend that you would be repaid 100 per cent on every loan?” he wrote. “I thought that any system that relied on this logic was doomed.”

Catching something of a popular wave, including support from Pope John Paul II (who cited the absolving of debt in Leviticus), World Bank directors in 1996 approved $US500 million for a relief trust fund; three years later, they relaxed eligibility for faster and deeper debt relief.

Wolfensohn said he was particularly proud of having installed a high-speed communications network linking affiliates in 80 countries, allowing interactive video conferencing and distance learning. “Modest, he wasn’t,” declared Fauzia S. Rashid, a staff member who worked with him.

‘Colonial kid’

James David Wolfensohn was born on December 1, 1933, and grew up in Sydney, where his parents, Hyman and Dora Wolfensohn, had moved from London in 1928. The family, which included an older sister, Betty, was always in financial stress even though his father had at one time moved in the upper echelons of British society: He had met James Armand de Rothschild in the British army and then served as his private secretary, before having a falling-out that the elder Wolfensohn never explained.

The family’s failure to establish itself in Australia weighed heavily on young James from about the age of 7, producing an obsession with monetary insecurity that carried long into his adult life.

James Wolfensohn when he was at Sydney Boys High in 1949. Credit:Fairfax Photographic

As a child, Wolfensohn “was always doing contingency planning in my head.” he recounted in his memoir. “I remember thinking that if I could have just 10 pounds, my life would be safe. As I grew older I would do calculations on scraps of paper and work out how long I could live on 100 pounds if I only ate cheese and bread.”

After early academic failures related to grade levels beyond his years — he entered the University of Sydney at 16 — Wolfensohn suddenly began to thrive under the intense mentorship of a renowned professor, Julius Stone, a friend of his father’s. He graduated in 1954.

During law school Wolfensohn obtained a clerkship with a top Sydney firm, Allen Allen & Hemsley, where a colleague introduced him to fencing. Preferring the épée to the saber despite not being tall and lean, he did well against world-class Italian and British competitors in the Melbourne Olympics before, by his account, becoming distracted and losing.

“The most exciting moment in his life was when he made the Olympics” as a confidence-lacking “colonial kid,” his late wife, Elaine Wolfensohn, put it in an interview for this obituary in January. “It had an enormous impact on who he was, who he became.”

With full legal credentials, Wolfensohn worked on a major antitrust case involving American companies and then decided to apply to Harvard Business School. He eventually flew to attend the school free of charge because of his service in the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve.

While studying there he met Elaine Botwinick, a Wellesley senior who had grown up in Manhattan and New Rochelle, New York. They married in 1961 and had three children, Sara, Naomi and Adam.

Elaine Wolfensohn died in August at 83. An advocate for education and the arts, she was an adviser to many boards of directors, including those of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and Teachers College at Columbia University. Thursday would have been the Wolfensohns’ 59th wedding anniversary.

‘Thrown into the deep end’

After a brief stint with a Swiss cement company, Wolfensohn returned to Australia to work for a number of banks, including J. Henry Schroder, which sent him to its headquarters in London and then to run its New York office. But when passed over in London for the chairmanship of Schroder, a blue-blood bastion — he said the rejection had “shattered” his fragile sense of security — he sought out Salomon Bros.

Wolfensohn on 6th avenue outside his office in New York City in 2010.

Wolfensohn on 6th avenue outside his office in New York City in 2010.Credit:Trevor Collens

“I was being thrown into the deep end of the toughest business in New York,” he recounted.

After his modest British salary, he said, the idea of earning $US2 million to $US3 million a year “was both scary and exhilarating,” because this was his first job without what he called a financial safety net.

Wolfensohn reorganised and built Salomon’s corporate department and helped rescue Chrysler through a huge government bailout in 1979 — the largest in American history at the time. Some partners at the firm thought he had spent too much time on the Chrysler deal, however, and his relationship with Salomon soured.

He left the firm after Robert McNamara, the head of the World Bank, told him that he had put Wolfensohn’s name on a list of people who might succeed him. To qualify for the post, Wolfensohn quickly became a US citizen, only to see the job go to Alden Clausen. (Wolfensohn later regained his Australian citizenship.)

Seizing the chance to fulfil a lifelong dream of owning his own business, he opened James D. Wolfensohn Inc., a boutique Wall Street adviser that immediately thrived.


One prominent deal came after Louis Gerstner Jr., chief executive of IBM and a board member of The New York Times Co., called to ask if Wolfensohn would assist in The Times‘ purchase of The Boston Globe.

“I felt proud that he had picked us from among all the Wall Street firms, not because I had approached him but because of our reputation for skill and integrity,” Wolfensohn wrote in his memoir. “With the help of our distinguished neighbour and friend, Arthur (‘Punch’) Sulzberger, the chairman and publisher of The New York Times, and his immensely competent team, we made a successful transaction.”

Twenty years later, however, in a period of downsizing, The Times sold The Globe and other New England media properties for $US70 million, far below the $US1.1 billion it had paid.

Learning cello for Carnegie Hall

Wolfensohn became chairman of Carnegie Hall in 1980 and helped raise about $US60 million to renovate it after donating $US1 million of his own. Ten years later he was invited to help rescue the financially ailing John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, also as chairman. As he wrote in his memoir, he found the Kennedy Center to be a “white elephant” badly in need of physical repairs and more energetic programming.

He also worked for decades on behalf of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

At a dinner party one evening, Wolfensohn, who was 42 at the time, impulsively said that he had always wanted to learn to play the cello. Du Pré had one delivered the next day and agreed to give him lessons on the condition that he would play a concert on his 50th birthday.

Seven years later, Daniel Barenboim, the pianist and conductor (and du Pré’s husband), reminded him of his pledge and told him that a private performance would not suffice. The concert would be chamber music at Carnegie Hall, Barenboim said, insisting that Wolfensohn, who had never played chamber music and never played in public, perform there. The hall was reserved; the date would be December 1, 1983, his birthday.

A year of intense practice ensued, sometimes in hotel rooms around the world — all leading to a Walter Mitty-like performance before an audience of hundreds. Onstage with him were the violinist Isaac Stern, the pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy and other music royalty; the program consisted of works by Haydn and Schumann.

Similar concerts followed on Wolfensohn’s 60th and 70th birthdays, at the Library of Congress as well as at Carnegie Hall.

‘Mission impossible’

On joining the World Bank in 1995, Wolfensohn divested his stake in his Wall Street firm, where he had recruited Paul Volcker to join after Volcker had retired as chairman of the Federal Reserve. When his partners sold the firm for $US210 million to the Bankers Trust Co., Wolfensohn invoked a clause in his own sale agreement to pocket $US45 million in the bank’s stock, half of which he and his wife gave to a family foundation to support the arts, culture and health care.

Ten years later, when he stepped down from the World Bank, Wolfensohn formed Wolfensohn & Co., another boutique advisory.

His last major undertaking was in the mid-2000s as a special envoy for a diplomatic group known as the Quartet — made up of the United Nations, the United States, the Russian Federation and the European Union — which was seeking an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal in which Israel would disengage from the Gaza Strip.

Wolfensohn was tapped by the Bush administration to help coordinate Palestinian economic reforms and reconstruction efforts in Gaza.

Wolfensohn was tapped by the Bush administration to help coordinate Palestinian economic reforms and reconstruction efforts in Gaza. Credit:Getty

If the deal were struck, he was to help coordinate revitalisation efforts once the Palestinian authorities had taken over the area, the UN said at the time.

However, the negotiations failed.

“The Middle East,” Wolfensohn grimly observed, “turned out to be my mission impossible.”

James Wolfensohn is survived by his children and by seven grandchildren.

The New York Times, with the Washington Post

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Football legend Diego Maradona dies of heart attack

The Argentine World Cup winning captain had undergone brain surgery earlier this month

  Argentine legend Diego Maradona gestures during his first training session as coach of Mexican football club Dorados, at the Banorte stadium in Culiacan, Sinaloa State, Mexico. – Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020. (AFP)

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine football legend Diego Maradona has died at the age of 60, his spokesman announced Wednesday.

Renowned with Brazil’s Pele as one of the greatest footballers of all time, the Argentine World Cup winning captain died of a heart attack, having undergone brain surgery earlier this month, a member of his entourage told AFP.



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Soccer world mourns as Argentina great Maradona dies aged 60

FILE PHOTO: Football – Argentina v Holland 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany – Group C – Waldstadion, Frankfurt – June 21, 2006 Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona during the game Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley/File Photo

November 25, 2020

By Nicolás Misculin and Cassandra Garrison

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Diego Maradona, widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time before drug and alcohol addiction marred his career, died on Wednesday at his home in Argentina after suffering a heart attack, his lawyer said. He was 60.

Beloved in his homeland after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in 1986 and adored in Italy for taking Napoli to two Serie A titles, Maradona was a uniquely gifted player who rose from the tough streets of Buenos Aires to reach the pinnacle of his sport.

He died four years to the day after one of his political heroes, former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and 15 years to the day after another troubled but talented football folk hero, George Best, whom Maradona cited as one of his boyhood inspirations.

Maradona had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural haematoma several weeks ago.

He suffered a heart attack at his home in the outskirts of Buenos Aires on Wednesday, acquaintances of the former player said. His death was confirmed by his lawyer.

In Buenos Aires, people began pouring onto the streets to mourn the nation’s favourite son, gathering in the San Andres neighbourhood where he lived, in Boca, the gritty barrio where he first became a star, and in the nearby city of La Plata where he had lately been technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.

The Argentine government has declared three days of mourning. President Alberto Fernandez said in a tweet, “You took us to the highest point in the world, and made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all. Thank you for having been with us, Diego. We will miss you all our lives.”

At Buenos Aires metro stations, digital billboards replaced messages about trains with the words: “Gracias Diego”.

In the suburb of Villa Crespo, the song “La Mano de Dios” by folk singer Rodrigo Bueno rang out from a balcony, a reference to a goal Maradona scored with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. In Argentina, Maradona has long been worshipped as ‘El Dios’ – The God.

While that goal – and his description of it as divine intervention – was Maradona’s most controversial, his second in that game, where he ran through the England team to score a stunning solo goal, showcased his extraordinary dribbling and control that many view as unmatched.


As well as many match-winning performances, Maradona charmed the world with ball-juggling skills that he first showed off as a 12-year-old ball boy.

But the other side of Maradona surfaced in the 1994 World Cup in the United States, where he was sent home after failing a doping test.

His last goal for Argentina came in that tournament against Greece in Boston and he celebrated by screaming angrily into a television camera.

Pele, the Brazilian footballer who is considered one of the only players to have come close to Maradona’s skill level, was quick to pay tribute to the Argentine.

“Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” he said.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said: “What Diego has done for football, for making us fall in love with this beautiful game, is unique. Diego deserves our eternal gratitude for that.”

At club level, Maradona broke on to the scene with Buenos Aires’ Boca Juniors before playing in Spain with Barcelona. He was idolised in Italy after leading Napoli to their first ever Italian league title in 1987.

The mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, called for the team’s stadium to be renamed after the player.

“Diego made our people dream, he redeemed Naples with his genius. In 2017 he became our honorary citizen, Diego, Neapolitan and Argentine, you gave us joy and happiness! Naples loves you!” he wrote on Twitter.

Maradona-inspired street art and graffiti in the Italian city have long been tourist attractions, but he later faced tax problems in the country, and in 2009 police seized his earrings in an effort to recover unpaid taxes while he was at a health clinic in northern Italy.

Maradona ended his playing career back in Argentina, returning to Boca. He had a brief and controversy-packed spell as Argentine national team coach from 2008 to 2010 before club coaching in the Middle East and Mexico.

He had five acknowledged children from relationships with several women but there have been others who have also claimed he was their father. His daughter Giannina was married for four years to Argentine player Sergio Aguero, who is a striker for the English Premier League club Manchester City.

Maradona became friends with Castro while receiving medical treatment in Cuba and he had tattoos of the Cuban leader and his former comrade Che Guevera. He was also a supporter of ex-Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Years of drug use, overeating and alcoholism truncated his stellar career and altered his appearance from a lithe athlete who could slalom effortlessly through teams to a bloated addict who nearly died of cocaine-induced heart failure in 2000.

But at his peak he was, said Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, an “unparalleled magician.”

“Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius,” he said.

“One of the best ever. An unparalleled magician. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”

(Reporting by Cassandra Garrison, Nicolas Misculin, Hugh Bronstein, Jorge Otaola and Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires, Aislinn Laing in Santiago, Sarah Marsh in Havana, and Richard Martin in London; Writing by Alistair Bell and Simon Evans; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Rosalba O’Brien)

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Diego Maradona: Argentina legend dies aged 60

Diego Maradona was inspirational as captain when Argentina won the World Cup in 1986

Football legend Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players of all time, has died at the age of 60.

The former Argentina attacking midfielder and manager suffered a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home.

He had successful surgery on a brain blood clot earlier in November and was to be treated for alcohol dependency.

Maradona was captain when Argentina won the 1986 World Cup, scoring the famous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England in the quarter-finals.

In a statement on social media, the Argentine Football Association expressed “its deepest sorrow for the death of our legend”, adding: “You will always be in our hearts.”

Maradona played for Barcelona and Napoli during his club career, winning two Serie A titles with the Italian side.

He scored 34 goals in 91 appearances for Argentina, representing them in four World Cups.

Maradona led his country to the 1990 final in Italy, where they were beaten by West Germany, before captaining them again in the United States in 1994, but was sent home after failing a drugs test for ephedrine.

During the second half of his career, Maradona struggled with cocaine addiction and was banned for 15 months after testing positive for the drug in 1991.

He retired from professional football in 1997, on his 37th birthday, during his second stint at Argentine giants Boca Juniors.

Having briefly managed two sides in Argentina during his playing career, Maradona was appointed head coach of the national team in 2008 and left after the 2010 World Cup, where his side were beaten by Germany in the quarter-finals.

He subsequently managed teams in the United Arab Emirates and Mexico and was in charge of Gimnasia y Esgrima in Argentina’s top flight at the time of his death.

More to follow.

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Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel dies due to multiple organ failure

The announcement of his demise was made by his son Faisal Patel.

Senior Congress leader and party treasurer Ahmed Patel (71) passed away on Wednesday morning at a Delhi hospital due to multiple organ failure more than a month after he was tested positive for COVID-19. 

The announcement of his demise was made by his son Faisal Patel.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr. Faisal said that Ahmed Patel passed away at 3.30 am on November 25. “After testing positive for Covid-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures,”  the statement went on to add.

He also requested well-wishers of his father to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines and avoid any mass gatherings to mourn the Congress leader’s demise. He was undergoing treatment at Medanta Hospital in Gurugram since November 15. 

In a tweet on October 1, Ahmed Patel had announced, “I have tested positive for COVID-19. I request all those who came in close contact with me recently, to self isolate.”

Ahmed Patel has for long been the power centre in Congress being party president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary. He had also earlier worked as Parliamentary Secretary for her husband Rajiv Gandhi in 1985. He was appointed the treasurer of the party in 2018 after the long time treasurer Motilal Vohra bowed out.

An eight-time parliamentarian, Ahmed Patel served three terms in the Lok Sabha and five terms in the Rajya Sabha. His last Rajya Sabha election in 2017 was heavily contested and included sequestering Gujarat legislators in Karnataka to avoid horse trading. He has always been the party’s troubleshooter and was the key leader to co-ordinate between Congress and other parties.

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Former France winger Dominici dies

Former France and Stade Francais player Christophe Dominici, whose dazzling runs made him one of the country’s best wingers, has died aged 48, his former rugby club says.

“It is with immense sadness that Stade Francais learns of the death of Christophe Dominici,” Stade Francais said in a statement.

Dominici won 67 caps for France between 1998 and 2007, scoring a memorable try in France’s stunning 43-31 victory against New Zealand in the 1999 World Cup.

He started his club career at RC La Valette in 1991 before joining Toulon in 1993 and Stade Francais in 1997 until he ended his career 11 years later.

He won five French national titles with Stade Francais and four Six Nations titles with Les Bleus, including two grand slams in 1998 and 2004.

“So much sadness. Christophe Dominici was an immense player, an artist, a funambulist. His sudden death is a shock,” sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said.

“I’m devastated. With his crappy physique, he beat all the best defences in the world. It really sucks to lose him at 48,” his former France and Stade Francais team mate Sylvain Marconnet said.

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Mike Reed, former Deputy Chief Minister, dies aged 75

Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro says the Territory has lost one of its greatest champions with the death of former Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer and long-term Member for Katherine Mike Reed.

“On behalf of the Country Liberal Party, I extend my sincere condolences to Mike’s wife Ann, children Steven, Megan and David and his many friends at this saddest of times,” Mrs Finocchiaro says in a media release.

First elected in March 1987, “Mike was a visionary Territorian and an integral figure during the CLP Governments of the 1980s and 90s.

“He was Deputy Chief Minister from 1995 until 2001, during the CLP Governments led by both Shane Stone and Denis Burke.

“Mike was at the forefront of the recovery of Katherine after the Australia Day floods in 1998 and the NT’s response to East Timor self-determination in 1999,” says Mrs Finocchiaro.

His service as Treasurer was “exemplary” and he also held many other Ministerial portfolios including: Health and Community Services, Primary Industry and Fisheries, Mines and Energy, Lands, Planning and Environment, Tourism, Police and Parks and Wildlife.

PHOTOS: Mr Reed, then Conservation Minister, is pictured at the opening of the Larapinta bike trail, being interviewed by Alice Springs News senior writer Kieran Finnane, for the TV documentary Cry from the Heart.


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French rugby great Christophe Dominici dies, aged 48

He won five French national titles with Stade Francais and four Six Nations titles with Les Bleus, including two grand slams in 1998 and 2004.

“So much sadness. Christophe Dominici was an immense player, an artist, a funambulist. His sudden death is a shock,” sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said.

“I’m devastated. With his crappy physique, he beat all the best defences in the world. It really sucks to lose him at 48,” his former France and Stade Francais team mate Sylvain Marconnet said.

Christophe Dominici, pictured during the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Christophe Dominici, pictured during the 2003 Rugby World Cup.Credit:David Moir

England’s World Cup-winning five-eighth Jonny Wilkinson and Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll were among those who paid tribute to the try-scoring winger, whose electrifying pace and flair had fans on the edge of their seats and flustered opponents often chasing shadows.


O’Driscoll, one of the finest centres to have played the game, praised his former opponent and fellow rugby entertainer.

“A French player full of flair with huge success throughout his career,” O’Driscoll said.

Wilkinson, who played club for Toulon late in his career, chose to pay his tribute on Twitter in French.

“The death of Christophe Dominici is terribly said,” he wrote. “We are thinking of all of his loved ones. The whole of sport has lost a true legend.”

The French rugby league said clubs in the top two divisions will pay their respects to Dominici in their matches this weekend.

“His classic tries helped to build French flair,” the LNR said, calling him “a great player who brought so much joy and talent to French rugby.”

Reuters, with AP

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