The body of Diego Armando Maradona, the legendary footballer who died this Wednesday at the age of 60 after a heart attack, will lie in state at the Casa Rosada for three days starting Thursday, the government has confirmed.
Maradona will lie in state at the Casa Rosada palace so the public could pay homage to the sporting hero “from Thursday until Saturday,” presidency spokesman Mario Huck told AFP.
Over the past few hours, there had been speculation as to where a wake for the inspirational number 10 would be held, with the stadiums of Boca Juniors and Argentinos Juniors floated as potential locations.
However, preparations at Government House are already underway, with workers seen removing items from the entrance of the building, which has not been used since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
The late footballer’s body was transported from his home in Tigre, where he passed away, to a morgue in San Fernando, Buenos Aires Province, for an autopsy early on Wednesday evening.
Maradona’s remains will undergo an autopsy “to establish the cause of death,” public prosecutor John Broyard said.
“The autopsy will be performed to establish the cause of death, which has only natural characteristics,” the prosecutor told reporters outside the house where the idol died at around midday.President Alberto Fernández has declared three days of national mourning in honour of the ex-Albiceleste captain and coach’s passing.
Maradona, one of the greatest footballers of all time, died at around midday at the age of 60, plunging his family, his homeland and the sport as a whole into mourning.
Renowned along with Pelé as one of the finest players ever to grace the field, the Albiceleste World Cup-winning captain had undergone brain surgery this month and died midday Wednesday after a heart attack.
Maradona will forever be remembered for his “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final in Mexico City, when he pushed the ball into the net.
Minutes later he swerved through the helpless English defenders for a superb second goal, capping a victory that perfectly encapsulated the mixture of brilliant skill and often outrageous behaviour that ran through his life.
He struggled with addiction to cocaine and alcohol and had been plagued by poor health in recent years.
Pelé described Maradona as a “dear friend” and the 80-year-old Brazilian said he hoped they would “play together in the sky” one day.
Gary Lineker, who was in the England team defeated in 1986, said Maradona was “arguably the greatest of all time” but referred to that infamous goal by tweeting: “After a blessed but troubled life, hopefully he’ll finally find some comfort in the hands of God. #RipDiego.”
Lionel Messi led the tributes from modern-day players to his fellow Argentine, saying: “He has left us but he will never leave us, because Diego is eternal.”