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Soccer

Maradona on respirator but improving

By Associated Press
Published April 20, 2004

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Diego Maradona was in critical condition Monday, breathing with the help of a respirator but showing signs of improvement after heart and blood pressure problems.

The former World Cup star for Argentina was hospitalized in the intensive care unit Sunday, hours after watching his former team Boca Juniors play in the domestic league.

It was the second time in recent years that the 43-year-old great, who led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title in Mexico, has been hospitalized.

Dr. Alfredo Cahe, Maradona's personal physician, described Maradona's condition as "critical" but said early tests showed his heart improved overnight.

The medical team treating Maradona said his "progress has been satisfactory" and his blood pressure was stabilizing.

Doctors said they expected to issue a new update on his condition today.

The Suizo-Argentina private clinic said Maradona appeared to have the heart-related condition known as cardiomyopathy, additional blood pressure problems, and was being assisted with a breathing tube.

Cardiomyopathy is a disease in which the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn't function properly.

The clinic also said Maradona had a lung infection.

Cahe said the emergency hospitalization was not related to Maradona's past drug use. Maradona had been rehabilitating for cocaine abuse in Cuba.

Maradona, who looked pale and overweight in television footage Sunday, was joined at the hospital by his father, his former wife and two daughters.

Dozens of fans, some carrying pictures of Maradona, crowded outside the clinic in downtown Buenos Aires.

[Last modified April 20, 2004, 01:20:37]


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