Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona died on Wednesday at the age of 60 following a heart attack, and the sports world is mourning a once larger-than-life superstar.
Numerous stars posted heartfelt tributes on social media, including Cristiano Ronaldo, who said, “Today I say goodbye to a friend and the world says goodbye to an eternal genius. He leaves too soon, but leaves a legacy without limits and a void that will never be filled. Rest in peace, ace. You will never be forgotten.”
Maradona became an icon in Argentina when he led his country to a World Cup title in 1986. He was so popular that hundreds of fans came out in force to support their hero when he was being transported from one hospital to another to undergo brain surgery.
A blood clot was discovered on Maradona’s brain and he underwent surgery on Nov. 3. Despite doctors’ hopeful prognosis after the operation, things took a turn for the worse Wednesday when he suffered the fatal heart attack.
Argentina President Alberto Fernández announced that the country would observe three days of national mourning.
Soccer legend Pele mourned Maradona’s death by providing a statement to Reuters. “Certainly, one day we’ll kick a ball together in the sky above,” it said.
At the height of his career, Maradona led his former club Napoli to two Italian league titles. “We are in mourning,” club spokesman Nicola Lombardo said. “We feel like a boxer who has been knocked out. We are in shock.”
The team posted a stirring tribute to the soccer legend on their Twitter account Wednesday. “Everyone is waiting for words from us. But what words could be possible for pain as strong as that we are currently experiencing? Now is the time for tears. Later, it will be words.”