He was ranked with Pele among the best, and his ability to surprise and startle won over fans and even critics. But his excesses and addictions darkened his legacy.
By Jeré Longman
(The New York Times) – Diego Maradona, the Argentine who became a national hero as one of soccer’s greatest players, performing with a roguish cunning and extravagant control while pursuing a personal life rife with drug and alcohol abuse and health problems, died on Wednesday in Tigre, Argentina, in Buenos Aires Province. He was 60.
His spokesman, Sebastián Sanchi, said the cause was a heart attack. Maradona had undergone brain surgery several weeks ago.
News of the death brought an outpouring of mourning and remembrance in Argentina, becoming virtually the sole topic of conversation. Such was his stature — in 2000, FIFA, soccer’s governing body, voted him and Pelé of Brazil the sport’s two greatest players — that the government declared three days of national mourning.
At Maradona’s feet, the ball seemed to obey his command like a pet. (He was said to do with an orange what others could only do with a ball.) And he played with a kind of brilliant camouflage, seeming to be somnolent for long stretches before asserting himself at urgent moments with a mesmerizing dribble, astounding pass or stabbing shot.