World Cup champion Diego Maradona passed away at the age of 60 on Wednesday, sparking tributes from the soccer world. Days later, Argentinian police raided Dr. Leopoldo Luque's home. The raid reportedly stemmed from allegations of negligence.
According to TMZ, the authorities ruled Maradona's death as "culpable homicide" and triggered a criminal investigation. Police in Argentina went to Luque's home and private clinic as part of the raid. There were no details available about what they sought, but witnesses had reportedly told the authorities that they had seen Maradona and the doctor fighting and shoving. The raid followed these reports.
In addition to reports of the shoving, Maradona's family demanded the investigation due to "feeling strongly" that his death is a homicide. They — and the soccer legend's lawyers — have demanded a probe into his death. Attorney Matias Morla said that it took half of an hour for the ambulance to arrive at Maradona's house after he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Maradona previously underwent successful surgery in early November to remove a blood clot. It's unknown if the surgery was connected to his heart attack and death, but Luque provided positive updates after the procedure. "Diego feels much better than yesterday and feels like leaving," Luque said in early November. "He spent the night well and we have been joking." The doctor also said Maradona was "without any type of neurological deficit, without any type of complication associated with surgery." The hospital discharged the soccer legend on Nov. 12.
Following the raid on his home and office, Luque talked to reporters and said that he has "nothing to hide." The doctor said that he has the backing of the Argentine Society of Neurosurgery. He proclaimed that the death had nothing to do with the surgery.
"We were all gathered to see the best for Diego: the doctors, myself, his family. Nothing could be done without his will," Luque said. "We sought to put together a containment scheme for the issue of the pills he was taking and to control alcohol consumption. There were no medical criteria [to keep Maradona in hospital]. We could have taken him to a rehabilitation centre, but we needed Diego's okay. It was his decision.
"Here there are no decisions, there are medical criteria. When you operate on a patient, the discharge criteria depend on the patient," he continued. "There wasn't a doctor error. He had a heart problem that can happen in a patient like him. Everything possible was done to reduce that chance, but you cannot block the possibility. I had the full endorsement of the Argentine Society of Neurosurgery that Diego needed the surgery. Six doctors evaluated him. Death had nothing to do with [the surgery]."
Maradona led Argentina to a World Cup title in 1986, sparking controversy en route to the championship. During a quarterfinal match between Argentina and England, Maradona appeared to hit the ball off of his head and into England's goal, doing so at a unique angle. However, his closed fist reportedly hit the ball first, which would have been a "yellow card," nullifying the goal.
The score remained due to the officials not having a clear view of the play and a lack of necessary technology to disallow the goal. Maradona later stated after the match that the goal was scored with "a little with his head, and a little with the hand of God." The nickname stuck and became part of Maradona's legacy.