October 26, 2021

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Maradona’s doctor questioned in star’s death

Diego Maradona’s doctor has been questioned by prosecutors in an investigation into claims that he and six other medical personnel had neglected the ailing football icon in his final days, precipitating his death.

The appearance of Leopoldo Luque, 39, closes a two-week process of interrogation, with the seven having appeared one by one to defend themselves against the accusations.

The neurosurgeon arrived at the prosecutor’s office in San Isidro, Buenos Aires, 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 AFP his lawyers had submitted a document to prosecutors ahead of the hearing that is expected to last several hours.

Maradona died of a heart attack last November at the age of 60, weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot.

Luque, who has described the sporting legend as a friend, was in charge of his medical team, which a board of experts found had provided inadequate care and abandoned the idolized player to his fate for a “prolonged, agonizing period” before he was found dead in bed.

A judge will next decide whether to order a trial, in a process that could take years. The suspects risk between eight and 25 years in jail if found guilty.

An investigation was opened following a complaint filed by two of Maradona’s five children against neurosurgeon Luque, whom they blame for their father’s deterioration after the operation.

A panel of 20 medical experts convened by Argentina’s public prosecutor said last month that Maradona’s treatment was rife with “deficiencies and irregularities.”

The panel concluded he “would have had a better chance of survival” with adequate treatment in an appropriate medical facility.

Instead, he died alone in a rented house in an exclusive Buenos Aires neighborhood where he was receiving home care. (AFP)