Sports

Offices of Diego Maradona’s Doctor Raided Over His Death

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BUENOS AIRES — The authorities searched the home and offices of Diego Maradona’s personal doctor on 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 Mr. 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 Mr. Maradona, 60, died on Wednesday, plunging Argentina into three days of national mourning. Widely perceived as one of the game’s best players, Mr. 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 on Thursday to pay their last respects as Mr. Maradona’s body lay in state at the presidential palace.

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

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

Talking to reporters Sunday afternoon, Dr. 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.”

Dr. 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. Mr. 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 Dr. 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 Mr. Maradona the morning of his death did not actually do so.

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



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