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Offices of Diego Maradona's doctor raided over his death

The authorities searched the home and offices of the soccer hero's doctor as part of an investigation into the circumstances of his death last week

By Daniel Politi and Isabella Kwai
Published: Nov 30, 2020

Offices of Diego Maradona's doctor raided over his deathPolice officers stand guard outside the building where Leopoldo Luque, the personal doctor of late Argentine soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, has his office in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 29, 2020.
Photo credits: Agustin Marcarian / REUTERS

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Authorities searched the home and offices of Diego Maradona’s personal doctor Sunday as part of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the soccer star’s death last week.

Prosecutors requested a search warrant for the doctor, Leopoldo Luque, after collecting evidence and interviewing Maradona’s relatives, according to a statement by the prosecutor’s office in San Isidro, Buenos Aires province. The statement did not provide more details.

It was the latest soap-operatic turn since Maradona, 60, died Wednesday, plunging Argentina into three days of national mourning. Widely perceived as one of the game’s best players, Maradona had a rags-to-riches story that took him from a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Buenos Aires to global celebrity, a journey that resonated with many Argentines.

Tens of thousands gathered in lines that were 20 blocks deep Thursday to pay their last respects as Maradona’s body lay in state at the presidential palace.

Representatives said Maradona had died from a heart attack at his home in Tigre, north of Buenos Aires. The star had been plagued with medical problems and underwent brain surgery this month.

But for many his death remained a surprise, and theories, scandals and suspicions of foul play began emerging afterward.

An ambulance took more than half an hour to arrive, Matias Morla, a lawyer for Maradona, said Thursday, calling it “criminal idiocy” and adding that he would request an investigation into the death. Prosecutors have disputed that timeline and said the ambulance arrived in 12 minutes.

Another former doctor for Maradona, Alfredo Cahe, called his death “unusual,” adding that a doctor should have been stationed in his room and that Maradona should have stayed in the hospital after his operation.

Luque disputes that allegation, claiming no one could force Maradona to stay in the hospital against his will.

Talking to reporters Sunday afternoon, Luque said he had he cooperated with law enforcement and was ready to answer any questions from prosecutors.

“We gave them all the information they needed,” he said in a news conference at his home. “I’m absolutely certain I did the best that I could for Diego.”

Luque, a neurosurgeon, painted a picture of a soccer superstar who was “very difficult” and had to be convinced to take care of his health. Maradona “kicked me out of his house many times,” he added.

Law enforcement officials seized Maradona’s medical history, computers, notebooks, prescription pads and other documents from Luque’s home and office, prosecutors said in a statement.

More intrigue built after sources told news outlets that a nurse who wrote in a report that she had checked on Maradona the morning of his death did not actually do so.

The searches of Luque’s home and offices were carried out early Sunday after Maradona’s daughters asked for a review of medications prescribed by Luque and his team, according to the newspaper Clarín.

Maradona was famous for leading Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, scoring an iconic goal in a quarterfinal against England. But beyond his sporting accomplishments, he was known for his leftist politics and his honesty over his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.

©2019 New York Times News Service

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