Argentina declares 3-day mourning for Diego Maradona

'An immense sadness': Argentina declares 3-day national mourning for Diego Maradona

Digital signs used for public transportation updates were illuminated around the city with the message "Thank you, Diego"

A scientific police van leaves the gated community where Argentine football star Diego Maradona died, carrying his mortal remains, in Benavidez, Buenos Aires. Credit: AFP.

Heartbroken fans of Argentine soccer star Diego Maradona gathered on the streets of Buenos Aires to mourn on Wednesday, following the news of his death.

President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning after Maradona, 60, died at home of a heart attack after battling a series of health problems.

In Buenos Aires, fans laid bouquets of flowers near Maradona's former club, Boca Juniors. Others gathered in the San Andres neighborhood where he lived and in the nearby city of La Plata where he had lately been technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.

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Digital signs used for public transportation updates were illuminated around the city with the message "Thank you, Diego."

"Diego is the greatest there is, the best. I met my wife in 1986 when Diego scored the goal with his hand," said 53-year-old Buenos Aires resident Jose Luis Shokiva, referring to a goal Maradona scored with his hand against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

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"The truth for me is that Diego is everything. As a Boca fan, as an Argentine, he is the greatest. What has happened is an immense sadness," said Shokiva, wearing a t-shirt with Maradona's image.

Maradona was globally famed as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, but at home was idolized as a god. Fans have long referred to him as 'El Dios' - which means 'The God', but is also a play on words on his number 10 shirt, 'El Diez.'

"I am very sad, he was someone who was part of our childhood and adolescence," said Mariela Barg, a lawyer in Buenos Aires. Thinking of him brought back memories of celebrating the World Cup win in 1986, she said.

"He was intertwined with something so Argentine as soccer, and now he is gone." (Reporting by Reuters TV; writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)