Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona passed away on Wednesday at the age of 60. One day later, photos surfaced of three funeral workers posing next to Maradona's coffin. The Pinier funeral home responded by firing Claudio Fernandez, his son Ismael and Claudio Medina. The company also said that the three were not actually employees and that they had "outsourced" some services.
According to ESPN, one of the images showed Fernandez and Ismael next to Maradona's open coffin. Ismael smiled and had his thumb raised. Medina appeared in another photo with a similar pose. Fernandez later conducted an interview and said that he hadn't planned on taking the photo or distributing it. He said that it was actually something that happened "instantaneously."
Mortuary Attendant Fired After Taking Selfie With Diego Maradona's Dead Body pic.twitter.com/MtHquXgMX4— HUMORIST. (@barondiv2991) November 27, 2020
"My son, like every kid, raised his thumb and they took the photo," Fernandez said during an appearance on Radio10. "I know that many people have been offended, they have taken it badly." The now-fired worker continued and said he had received death threats. "They know me. I'm from the neighborhood," he said. "They say they are going to kill us, break our heads."
Maradona's death comes just days after being discharged from the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery for bleeding on the brain. The soccer legend underwent successful surgery for a blood clot on the brain on Nov. 4. He was said to be doing well after the surgery and reportedly laughed and grabbed his personal physician's hand after the procedure. Maradona was said to be doing well, with The Guardian reporting that his personal physician, Dr. Leopoldo Luque also said at the time that Maradona was "without any type of neurological deficit, without any type of complication associated with surgery." Maradona was discharged on Nov. 12.
When news originally surfaced of Maradona's death, there were questions about the cause. A source from the Argentinian Justice Ministry who was present at the autopsy later provided information to CNN. The source listed the cause of death as an "acute secondary lung edema to exacerbated chronic heart failure."
Following his death, thousands gathered at the presidential palace in order to file past his coffin and pay their respects. Additionally, many honored the longtime soccer star with statements and tributes. Premier League USA remembered Maradona as "an extraordinarily gifted player who transcended the sport. Our thoughts and sincere condolences to Diego's family, friends and those who knew him."