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Diego Maradona death: how did ‘Hand of God’ footballer die, when and why medical staff face homicide charges

The former Argentine international is famous for his ‘Hand of God’ goal against England during the 1986 World Cup

Eight medical professionals who looked after famous footballer Diego Maradona prior to his death have been charged with homicide.

The former ‘Hand of God’ star died in November 2020 after suffering a heart attack.

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Prosecutors have claimed Maradona’s death at the age of 60 was due to “omissions” by his care team.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Who was Diego Maradona?

Maradona was one of the most famous football players in the world.

Diego Maradona holds up a match ball during a press conference in Pretoria, South Africa (Pic: Getty Images)

Often described as the “God of football,” the Argentinian had an illustrious career, leading his country to victory in the 1986 World Cup.

During his international career he earned 91 caps and scored 36 goals.

When not playing for his international team, the footballer played for club sides Barcelona and Napoli.

He has been described as “the greatest ever” by Lionel Messi and inspired the next generation of football players.

After retiring from the sport he went into coaching and was the head coach of the Argentinian team.

Maradona was a national hero in Argentina, although the star had struggled with ill health in later years.

The former footballer battled a cocaine and alcohol addiction until 2004.

How did Maradona die?

Maradona died after suffering a heart attack in his home in Dique Luján, Buenos Aires on 25 November 2020.

After several attempts to revive him, the footballer was pronounced dead at 1pm local time.

At the time, he was recovering from surgery to treat a subdural hematoma, which is a clot on the brain.

His death stunned a nation, with hundreds of thousands of people paying their respects at his wake.

Maradona was buried on 27 November, 2020, at the Jardín Bella Vista cemetery next to his parents, Dalma and Diego.

A report in 2021 concluded that the football star had been in agony for 12 hours up until his death.

It uncovered failings that could have saved him, with his lawyer Matias Moria posting on Twitter: “The ambulance took more than half an hour to arrive, which was a criminal idiocy."

The report discovered that the care Maradona received “did not fulfil the minimum requirements,” and that he could have survived had he had “adequate hospitalisation.”

Why has Maradona’s medical team been charged?

In the wake of his death there were questions around what exactly had happened.

A team assigned to investigate the death called into question Maradona’s medical team, stating they acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner".

According to Reuters prosecutors are saying the famous footballer died as a result of “omissions,” from his medical team.

They go on to say "the behaviours - active or by omission - of each of the accused which led to and contributed to the realisation of the harmful result".

Maradona’s medical team was made up of eight people, including doctors, nurses and a psychologist.

Those who cared for the footballer at the time of his death are being accused of “simple homicide” which means taking a life with intent.

If found guilty, they could face up to eight and 25 years behind bars.

What was the ‘Hand of God’ goal?

Often described as the most controversial moment in football, Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ took place during the 1986 World Cup.

Argentina player Diego Maradona outjumps England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to score with his ‘Hand of God’ (Pic: Getty Images)

Argentina were playing against England and the score was nil-nil.

Maradona jumped to head the ball into the net, but instead hit it with his hand.

At the time there was no technology available to review the footage and the referee had not seen his hand touch the ball.

It gave Argentina a 2-1 win against England.

In an interview after the game, Maradona said he scored the goal, “a little with his head, and a little with the hand of God.”

Argentina would go on to win the 1986 World Cup.