Diego Maradona's lawyer has called for a full investigation into the circumstances of the football legend’s death, criticising what he said was a slow response by emergency services.
Tens of thousands of Argentines have taken to the streets to bid farewell to Maradona, whose casket lay in state at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires draped in an Argentine flag and his famous No.10 shirt.
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Maradona, whose life was marred by struggles with addiction, died aged 60 following a heart attack at home on Wednesday.
But in the aftermath, the football legend’s lawyer and long-time doctor have both lashed out over the circumstances surrounding his death.
Lawyer Matias Morla blasted first responders in a brutal statement released on Thursday.
“Today is a day of deep pain, sadness and reflection,” he wrote.
“I feel in my heart the departure of a friend whom I honoured with my loyalty and companionship until his last days. I made my farewell with him in person and the wake should be an intimate occasion.
“It is inexplicable that for 12 hours my friend has not had attention or control from the legal health personnel.
“The ambulance took more than half an hour to arrive, which was CRIMINAL IDIOCY.
“This fact should not be overlooked and I am going to ask that the consequences be investigated until the end. As Diego said, ‘You are my soldier, act without mercy’.”
Doctor Alfredo Cahe also questioned why Maradona was transferred from hospital to his home after undergoing brain surgery two weeks ago.
“Diego wasn’t looked after as he should have been,” Cahe told news show Telefe Noticias.
“He should have been kept in hospital, not taken to a house which wasn’t properly prepared.
“I’m in a state of complete shock. I’ve had so many ups and downs with Diego for 33 years and he’s just died in an unusual way.
“I have a lot of doubts. I don’t know why he was taken to that house.
“When he left hospital it didn’t seem logical to me. He should have stayed in a place with a good infrastructure, like when we took him to Cuba.”
Argentina in mourning over Maradona’s death
Three days of national mourning have been called for the player who led Argentina to a 1986 World Cup win and is revered with cult-like status.
The star’s family is hoping to hold the burial on Thursday evening at the Bella Vista cemetery on the outskirts of Buenos Aires where his parents are also interred, a government source said.
A cemetery source confirmed that the burial had been scheduled for 6pm local time, but said it could also be delayed to Friday morning.
Early on Thursday, thousands of fans had already formed a snaking line through the streets near the central Plaza de Mayo after a night of mourning and reminiscing.
Some scuffles broke out as some tried to get inside the palace to see their hero’s casket.
“Maradona for me is the greatest thing that happened to me in life,” Cristian Montelli, 22, a fan of the star's former club Boca Juniors said with tears in his eyes.
“I love him as much as my father and it's like my old man died.”
“If I die young, hopefully upstairs I can play ball and watch a Boca game with him,” added Montelli, who has a tattoo of Maradona’s face on his leg.
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