FOOTBALL LEGEND Diego Diego Maradona died on Wednesday afternoon after suffering a heart attack at his home in Argentina.
His death, aged 60, comes two weeks after surgery after a hemorrhage in the brain.
The World Cup winner leaves a glittering legacy on the pitch of his unforgettable spells with Napoli, Barcelona and the Argentina national team.
His place in the pantheon of football is not in doubt, but Argentina’s favorite son, who has fought against alcohol and drug addiction and obesity, leaves a complicated personal and familial legacy.
Born into a devout Catholic family, Maradona grew up in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown just south of the capital Buenos Aires.
His father, dearly known as Don Diego, was a factory worker who once refused to let his son participate in trials for Argentinos juniors because there was not enough money in the sport.
His mother, Donna Tota, was a homemaker who had eight children – Diego was the oldest – and is known as the biggest influence and a calming presence on her most famous child.
In fact, when Dona Tota died in 2011, it was national news in Argentina, with the country’s biggest newspapers and television stations featuring obituaries.
According to folklore football, she wanted Diego to become an accountant.
In his autobiography, Maradona speaks reverently about her and described how she would skip meals and pretend to be sick just to be able to feed her kids.
Two of Maradona’s brothers have also become professional footballers, though not with the same success as Argentina’s No10.
Raul, known as Lalo, had a brief stint with Boca Juniors and Spanish Club Granada before spending much of his career in the US.
Hugo, known as El Turco, played in Spain with Rayo Vallecano and in Austria with Rapid Vienna, before becoming a cult hero with many clubs in Japan.
Not played on international level.
Maradona met his wife Claudia Villafane when she was 17 and he was 19.
They married after a long engagement in 1989 and were won 25 years, but the couple endured a turbulent relationship over three years.
Maradona had two children with Claudia, who was a film producer, reality TV star and actress in her career.
Their marriage was filled with rumors about the infidelity of Diego.
The pair divorced in 2004, but they were reunited in the following years, including at the 2006 World Cup.
The couple then drifted apart but made more headlines together in 2018, when Maradona succeeded Claudia for allegedly stealing his money and using it to buy apartments in Florida.
Children & love children
While two of his children, daughter Dalma and Giannina, are Claudia, Diego has at least three other kids – with unconfirmed rumors of more.
In 2016, after nearly 30 years of denial of paternity, Diego finally recognized Diego Jr. Sinagra as his son.
He was born in September 1986 after Diego’s affair with model Cristina Sinagra while playing for Napoli.
Despite years of campaigning by his mother – and even rumors that the pope was involved – Diego refused to accept he was the father, despite an Italian court proclaiming him the father in 1995.
He finally has a change of heart after another love child, Jana, got to know him by secretly meeting with him in a gym he attended in Buenos Aires.
Maradona gave birth to Jana, now a lingerie model, after a brief fling with nightclub worker Valeria Sabalain, after marrying Claudia Villafane.
Diego Jr., who has a career as a lower league footballer in Italy, has publicly posed for pictures with Diego after a family reunion.
Maradona SR said: “I am very happy because I have reunited with my son.
“I was reunited with him as I was reunited with Jana.
“I love him very much and he is very much like me.”
In the wake of this reunion, more women came forward with paternity claims against Maradona.
In March 2019, he adopted the paternity of three Cuban children, reportedly from two mothers, although their identity remains a secret.
Maradona spent many months in Havana between 2000 and 2005 while undergoing treatment for a cocaine habit, and even befriended President Fidel Castro during his time in the country.
Maradona later got a tattoo of Castro’s face on his leg.
At least three other women have claimed that Maradona is the father of their children, but he has not publicly confirmed that they were there before his death.
His youngest child, Diego Fernando, is just seven and was born in 2013.
Maradona was dating his mother, Veronica Ojeda, before she dumped when she was four months pregnant for Rocio Oliva, his 30-year-old son.
Drop out with AGUERO
Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero was married to Maradona’s daughter Giannina for four years from 2009 to 2013.
The relationship, however, ended in bitter terms with Maradona branding the striker – who is the father of his grandson Benjamin – shortly after a wimp.
If you think time would have healed the relationship, think again.
His lawyer shared a picture of Maradona from his home in 2018, and eagle-eyed people on social media spotted a picture of Aguero hanging on the wall.
But Aguero’s face was completely blocked by Maradona.
After splitting from Veronica Ojeda, Maradona got together with Rocio Oliva, who was just 23 and 30 years younger.
Rocio, a former professional footballer himself, has become a huge celebrity in Argentina since 18 months after they met.
However, they never married and split up in 2018 after a series of blazing rows.
The main sticking point is supposed to be her reluctance to follow him to Mexico after he got the job as Dorados manager.
In the wake of Maradona’s hospitalization earlier this month, an upset Rosio insisted that alcohol addiction was the cause of his problems.
She said: “On September 9th he was admitted for the same reason, but this time he was in a worse condition than before.
“What’s happening here is simple. You can keep him in hospital three or four days and improve him by hydrating him and giving him vitamins, but that’s not the solution.
Diego takes sleeping pills, but Diego’s problem is alcohol and it is known.
“Diego is still drinking, and anyone who says he is not is a liar. He needs to be treated for his alcohol addiction. ”