FOOTBALL legend Diego Maradona died on Wednesday afternoon after suffering a heart attack at his home in Argentina.
His death, aged 60, comes two weeks after surgery following a bleed on the brain.
The World Cup winner leaves behind a glittering legacy on the pitch from his unforgettable spells with Napoli, Barcelona and the Argentina national team.
His place in football’s pantheon is not in doubt but Argentina’s favourite son, who has battled alcohol and drug addiction and obesity, leaves behind a complicated personal and familial legacy.
Born to a devout Catholic family, Maradona grew up in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown just south of capital Buenos Aries.
His father, affectionately known as Don Diego, was a factory worker who once refused to let his son attend trials for Argentinos Juniors because there was not enough money in the sport.
His mother, Dona Tota, was a homemaker who raised eight children – Diego was the oldest – and is known as being the biggest influence and a calming presence on her most famous child.
In fact, when Dona Tota died in 2011 it was national news in Argentina, with the country’s biggest newspapers and TV stations running obituaries.
According to football folklore she had wanted Diego to become an accountant.
Maradona talks reverently about her in his autobiography, describing how she would skip meals and pretend to be ill just to be able to feed her kids.
Two of Maradona’s brothers also became professional footballers, although not with anywhere near the same level of success as Argentina’s No10.
Raul, known as Lalo, had a brief stint with Boca Juniors and Spanish club Granada before spending much of his career in the US.
Hugo, known as El Turco, played in Spain with Rayo Vallecano and in Austria with Rapid Vienna, before becoming a cult hero with numerous clubs in Japan.
Neither played at international level.
Maradona met his wife Claudia Villafane when she was 17 and he 19.
They married after a long engagement in 1989 and were wed 25 years, but the pair endured a turbulent relationship over three decades.
Maradona has two children with Claudia, who has been a film producer, reality TV star and actress in her career.
However, their marriage was fraught with rumours of Diego’s infidelity.
The couple divorced in 2004, but continued to be seen together in the years that followed, including at the 2006 World Cup.
The pair then drifted apart but made more headlines together in 2018, when Maradona sued Claudia for allegedly stealing his money and using it to buy apartments in Florida.
CHILDREN & LOVE CHILDREN
While two of his children, daughters Dalma and Giannina, were Claudia’s, Diego has at least three other kids – with unconfirmed rumours of more.
In 2016, after nearly 30 YEARS of denying paternity, Diego finally recognised Diego Jr Sinagra as his son.
He had been born in September 1986 after Diego’s affair with model Cristina Sinagra while he played for Napoli.
Despite years of campaigning from his mum – and even rumours that the Pope had got involved – Diego refused to accept he was the father, despite an Italian court proclaiming him as the father as early as 1995.
He finally had a change of heart after another love child, Jana, got to know him by secretly meeting with him at a gym he attended in Buenos Aires.
Maradona had fathered Jana, now a lingerie model, after a brief fling with nightclub worker Valeria Sabalain while still married to Claudia Villafane.
Diego Jr, who had a career as a lower league footballer in Italy, publicly posed for pictures with Diego after a family reunion.
Maradona Sr said: “I’m very happy because I’ve been reunited with my son.
“I’ve been reunited with him as I was reunited with Jana.
“I love him a lot and he’s very like me.”
In the wake of that reunion, more women came forward with paternity claims against Maradona.
In March 2019, he accepted paternity of three Cuban children, reportedly from two mothers, although their identities remain a secret.
Maradona had spent many months in Havana between 2000 and 2005 while undergoing treatment for a cocaine habit, even befriending then-President Fidel Castro during his time in the country.
Maradona later got a tattoo of Castro’s face on his leg.
At least three other women have come forward claiming Maradona to be the father of their children, but he did not publicly confirm they were his before his death.
His youngest child, Diego Fernando, is just seven, and was born in 2013.
Maradona had been dating his mother, Veronica Ojeda, before dumping her when she was four months pregnant for Rocio Oliva, 30 years his junior.
FALL OUT WITH AGUERO
Manchester City legend Sergio Aguero was married to Maradona’s daughter Giannina for four years from 2009 to 2013.
However, the relationship ended on bitter terms with Maradona branding the striker – who is the father of his grandson Benjamin – “a wimp”soon after.
If you think time would have healed the relationship then think again.
His lawyer shared an image of Maradona from his home in 2018 and eagle-eyed people on social media spotted a picture of Aguero hanging on the wall.
But Aguero’s face had been completely blacked out by Maradona.
After splitting from Veronica Ojeda, Maradona got together with Rocio Oliva, who at the time was just 23 and 30 years younger.
Rocio, a former professional footballer herself, has since become a huge celebrity in Argentina and got engaged just 18 months after they met.
However, they never married and split up in 2018 after a series of blazing rows.
The main sticking point is believed to be her reluctance to follow him to Mexico after he got the job as Dorados manager.
In the wake of Maradona’s hospitalisation earlier this month, an upset Rocio insisted that alcohol addiction was the cause of his problems.
She said: “On September 9 he was admitted for the same reason but this time round he was in a worse condition than before.
“What’s happening here is simple. You can keep him in hospital three or four days and get him better by hydrating him and giving him vitamins but that’s not the solution.
“Diego takes sleeping pills, but Diego’s problem is alcohol and it’s well known.
“Diego is still drinking and whoever says he isn’t is a liar. He needs to be treated for his alcohol addiction.”