One of the final photos taken of Diego Maradona has emerged after the football legend’s tragic death.
The Argentinian legend died at 60 on Wednesday after suffering a heart attack.
He had recently battled health issues and underwent emergency surgery for a blood clot on the brain.
His recent health problems saw him admitted to hospital in La Plata earlier this month suffering from anaemia and mild dehydration.
A bleed in the brain was then discovered. He was released from hospital only to die a few days later.
A photo of Maradona in his hospital bed has since emerged, showing him in good spirits after the operation.
Wearing his hospital gown, Maradona can be seen smiling and posing for the photo in haunting scenes.
Argentina in mourning over Maradona’s death
Lionel Messi, the player so often considered to be a successor to Maradona as an Argentine who became the world’s best, has led his country’s tributes to the great ‘El Diego’.
Messi, who like Maradona was blessed with a wand of a left foot, expressed his sorrow from Barcelona on social media, saying: “A very sad day for all Argentines and football.
“He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal. I take all the good moments lived with him and send condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”
Maradona 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.
His unmatched status as an Argentine hero - even Messi has never received the worship in the country that Maradona always captured - was quickly in evidence as his compatriots took to the streets to remember him.
In Buenos Aires, people began pouring into the San Andres neighbourhood where he lived and also into La Plata where he had lately been technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.
The Argentine government has declared three days of mourning, with the president Alberto Fernandez saying 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.”
In Argentina, he has long been worshipped as ‘El Dios’ - The God.
In the Buenos Aires suburb of Villa Crespo, the song “La Mano de Dios” by folk singer Rodrigo Bueno rang out from a balcony, a reference to the legendary goal Maradona scored with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
“Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” said Pele, the great Brazilian who, like Maradona, has so often been touted as the best player ever.
England’s Gary Lineker, who played against Maradona in the ‘Hand of God’ game, tweeted: “By some distance the best player of my generation and arguably the greatest of all time.
“After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he'll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.