Diego Maradona buried as scores of fans mourn in the streets of Buenos Aires

Diego Maradona buried as scores of fans mourn in the streets of Buenos Aires

Taylor Martinez

(CNN) — Diego Maradona was buried on Thursday in a private ceremony on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

A small number of close family and friends were permitted into the Bella Vista cemetery, where the soccer great was laid to rest alongside his parents.

Earlier fans had lined the streets as Maradona’s body departed Argentina’s presidential palace, Casa Rosada, in Buenos Aires, where he lay in honor for public viewing following his death, aged 60.

Fans wait to enter the Government House to pay tribute to late football legend Diego Armando Maradona in Buenos Aires, on November 26, 2020. – Diego Maradona’s coffin arrived at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires for a period of lying in state, TV reports showed, following the death of the Argentine football legend aged 60 on November 25. Hundreds of people were already lining up to pay their respects to Maradona, who died while recovering from a brain operation, the images from sports channels TyC and ESPN showed. (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI / AFP) (Photo by ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images)

Live images from Casa Rosada showed crowds of people seated on the walled perimeter and outside the gates of the palace as the dark-colored hearse emerged covered in flowers.

As the hearse traveled through the city, people lined the streets. Many were throwing pieces of paper from their apartment buildings down to the street, a tradition that echoed the welcome soccer teams sometimes receive when entering a stadium for a game.

Hordes of fans congregated at the palace in Buenos Aires after the doors opened for the general public at 6 a.m. local time Thursday. There were some clashes between the mourning fans and the police.

President Alberto Fernandez has already declared three days of mourning to honor Maradona — a national hero in Argentina and widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.

Maradona died from heart failure, a source from the Argentinian Justice Ministry present at the time of the autopsy told CNN en Espanol on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, he underwent successful surgery for a subdural hematoma, more commonly known as a blood clot on the brain.

According to a news release from the attorney investigating the death, Maradona’s nephew Jonatan Espósito was the last person to see him alive on Tuesday.

READ: Diego Maradona the tormented genius who became one of football’s greatest players

At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, a personal psychologist — Carlos Díaz — and Maradona’s psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov found the former footballer unresponsive, at which point his nephew and assistant were called to try and wake him, according to the release.

“There weren’t any vital signs, so the nurse and psychiatrist came in and tried to perform CPR, but it was unsuccessful,” added the attorney’s statement.

“They asked for ambulances of different providers and in the meantime asked for a doctor … as well as a surgeon doctor who was a neighbor in the area.

“This man went upstairs and tried to reanimate the victim. Later on, the ambulances arrived along with the clinical doctor of the medical provider. He proceeded with resuscitation; he tried with syringes of adrenaline and atropine, finally declaring the death of the victim.”

Tributes have been paid by footballers past and present following Maradona’s death.

Argentine star Lionel Messi, regarded by many as a modern-day Maradona, said he “keep(s) all the beautiful moments lived with him,” while Cristiano Ronaldo bid goodbye to an “eternal genius” and “unparalleled magician.”

Pele, another great of the game, said he hoped one day the pair would “play football together in heaven.”

Maradona inspired Argentina to victory at the 1986 World Cup.

In the quarterfinal against England, he famously out-jumped goalkeeper Peter Shilton and punched the ball into the net — an act he later dubbed the “Hand of God” — before scoring one of the greatest goals the game has seen a few minutes later as he slalomed past seven English defenders to score.

The first goal was allowed to stand because the referee did not see the foul.

His glittering career, which included helping Napoli to its first league title in 1987, was also marked by numerous controversies and his notorious lifestyle led to alcoholism and addiction.

During his time in Naples, a city where he has achieved God-like status, Maradona came into contact with the Camorra — the Neapolitan mafia — and struggled with addiction. He failed a drug test in 1991 and received a 15-month ban from the game.

Napoli faced Rijeka in the Europa League on Thursday in its first game since Maradona’s passing.

Tributes were paid to the team’s greatest player as the Napoli squad took to the pitch wearing Maradona’s iconic No.10 shirt with his name on the back.

Players observed a minute’s silence before kick-off as pictures of Maradona appeared on the electronic scoreboards. Fans, unable to attend the match amid Covid-19 restrictions, gathered in the streets of Naples and outside the San Paolo stadium to pay their respects.

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