Diego Maradona’s doctor questioned in football star’s death

Argentina prosecutors are investigating whether medical team failed to provide adequate care before Maradona’s death last year.

The personal physician of late Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona, Dr Leopoldo Luque, arrives to a prosecutor's office in San Isidro, in Buenos Aires on June 28 [Sebastian Salman/Reuters]

Argentinian prosecutors are questioning the doctor of Diego Maradona as part of their investigation into whether medical personnel failed to provide adequate care to the football legend before his death last year.

Leopoldo Luque, 39, arrived at the prosecutor’s office in San Isidro, Buenos Aires, on Monday in a dark suit and tie and dark glasses an hour before his hearing was due to start, declining to make a statement to waiting journalists.

Judicial sources told the AFP news agency his lawyers had submitted a document to prosecutors ahead of the hearing that is expected to last several hours.

Luque, who was in charge of Maradona’s medical team, has repeatedly denied guilt and recently said, “I’m proud of what I did” to assist the footballer, denying he had abandoned him.

“I did my best. I offered Diego everything I could: some things he accepted, others not,” he said.

His lawyer, Julio Rivas, said on Monday that Luque would explain to prosecutors “that he was not in charge of [Maradona’s] home care” as the 60-year-old Argentinian footballer recovered from brain surgery for a blood clot. Maradona succumbed to a heart attack on November 25.

A man touches a mosaic of late Argentinian football superstar Diego Armando Maradona, in Buenos Aires, Argentina in February [File: Agustin Marcarian/Reuters]

Luque’s testimony closes a two-week interrogation process in which six other medical personnel have been questioned, defending themselves against the accusations that their actions contributed to Maradona’s death.

“I see no responsibility either in Agustina or in Leo”, Rivas said of Luque and co-accused psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, 36. Other members of the medical team have said the duo was in charge of the retired footballer’s care.

The probe comes after a panel of medical experts concluded earlier this year that Maradona’s medical team had provided inadequate care and abandoned him to his fate for a “prolonged, agonising period” before his death.

Argentinians had protested in the capital, Buenos Aires, to demand answers and justice for the late star.

A judge will next decide whether to order a trial, in a process that could take years. The suspects – all of whom have denied responsibility in the case – risk between eight and 25 years in jail if found guilty.

Argentina declared three days of national mourning when Maradona died as huge crowds of people paid their last respects to the football star, who led the Argentinian side to the World Cup victory in 1986.

“Argentina is Maradona,” mourner Wilson Cisnero told Al Jazeera in Beunos Aires at that time. “Now soccer is left without its God.”

Source: AFP, Al Jazeera