THOUSANS of grieving fans have taken to the streets of Naples and Buenos Aires to mourn Diego Maradona.
Maradona became a star in the Argentinian capital with Boca Juniors and is worshipped southern Italian city for propelling unfashionable Napoli to league titles and European glory.
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Argentina's president Alberto Fernandez has decreed three days of mourning after the death of the legendary player of a suspected heart attack aged 60.
And all schools in Naples will be closed tomorrow in honour of their former player, with Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis admitting he could change the name of the San Paolo stadium after Maradona too.
Fans flooded into the streets of the city's Spanish Quarters, many of them lighting a candle beneath a huge mural of the Argentine in his sky-blue jersey.
"Ciao, God of Football," read paper signs affixed to the walls of the working class neighbourhood by fans, while others left flowers and messages.
Meanwhile Buenos Aires, fans laid bouquets of flowers near Boca Juniors’ stadium.
Others gathered in the San Andres neighborhood where he lived and in the nearby city of La Plata where he had lately been technical director for local team Gimnasia y Esgrima.
“Diego is the greatest there is, the best," said 53-year-old Buenos Aires resident Jose Luis Shokiva.
"I met my wife in 1986 when Diego scored the goal with his hand, The truth for me is that Diego is everything.
"As a Boca fan, as an Argentine, he is the greatest. What has happened is an immense sadness.”
Nine ambulances were sent to Maradona’s house around midday local time today in the exclusive gated residential neighbourhood of San Andres north of Buenos Aires where Maradona went to live after leaving hospital.
Local reports said one of the nurses caring for him had raised the alarm after discovering he had suffered a suspected heart attack.
None of the medical responders who rushed to the house were able to do anything to save him.
Argentina’s former manager Cesar Luis Menotti paid tribute to Maradona by saying: “I’m devastated. I can’t believe it. I’m absolutely gutted. There’s no more I can say at this moment.
“I thought at first the news of his death was fake news but obviously it’s what happened. It’s terrible and a tragic surprise because measures had been taken to make sure he was being looked after.”
Meanwhile, president Fernandez tweeted a picture of him hugging Maradona alongside a heartfelt message.
It said: “You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all.
“Thank you for having existed Diego. We’re going to miss you forever.”
Schools in Naples will also close on Thursday in honour of the city’s former striker.
Maradona played for Napoli between 1984 and 1991, scoring 115 goals in 259 games.
He led them to two Serie A titles in 1987 and 1990, as well as the 1987 Italian Cup and 1989 UEFA Cup.
And president De Laurentiis has revealed he is considering changing the name of the San Paolo stadium to include Maradona.
He said: “We can consider the idea of calling our stadium San Paolo-Diego Armanda Maradona.”
Meanwhile, Italian Chamber of Deputies President Fico added: “Naples will always be grateful to you for those unforgettable years.”