Renowned along with Brazil's Pele as one of the greatest footballers of all time, the Argentine World Cup winning captain died of a heart attack, having undergone brain surgery earlier this month, a member of his entourage told AFP.
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In 2000, Maradona almost died of heart failure caused by use of the drug cocaine.
When Maradona joined Napoli, one newsreader remarked, "the poorest city in Italy buys the most expensive player in the world".
Some Argentinians consider Maradona the greatest football player ever, edging out Brazilian footballer, Pelé.
The Brazilian and Argentine were jointly named best player of the 20th century by Federation Internationale de Football Association in 2000.
The highs and lows of Maradona's athletic career are probably best captured in the 1986 World Cup - he scored two legendary goals in one match.
In the 1986 World Cup in Mexico he led Argentina against England, only four years after the two countries had fought a war over the Falkland Islands. The football he played and the goals he scored in that tournament were unbelievable. He later said, "It was partly by the hand of God and partly with the head of Maradona".
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1960, he quickly rose to prominence, making his professional soccer debut 10 days before his 16th birthday. As a child, he slept with a football under his arm while his mother thought he would grow up to be an accountant.
His personal demons continued to plague him and, after he was spotted acting erratically and crudely gesturing to fans at the 2018 World Cup, his former agent Jon Smith expressed concern over Maradona's habit of mixing sleeping medication with alcohol.
Maradona was an instant hit in Europe and was snapped up by a struggling Napoli team in 1984. He led the team to two Italian football championships.
That year Maradona received a 15-month suspension from the sport for a drug violation.
He fled in disgrace in 1991, a failed drugs test, an unrecognised son and a billion-lira tax dispute all left back in Naples, where his penchant for late-night parties, cocaine and women were nearly as famous as his magical displays on the pitch.
For Ronaldo - typically more interested in hearing praise about himself than bestowing it upon others - to instantly release a heartfelt tribute about Maradona's brilliance, says much.