Buenos Aires – Dalma Salvadora Franco, the mother of legendary Argentine soccer player Diego Maradona, died on the weekend in a Buenos Aires hospital from a heart condition, media reports said. She was 81.
The soccer legend's mother, known as "Doña Tota," was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Los Arcos health clinic, in the capital's Palermo neighborhood, after suffering a relapse in her delicate health condition, which in recent months had led to several stays in the hospital.
Athletes, political leaders and artists flooded the social-networking sites with messages of "grief" and condolences for Diego Maradona over his mother's death on Saturday.
Among the most-searched themes on Twitter on Sunday were "Fuerza Diego" (Strength, Diego) and "Doña Tota."
Maradona learned of his mother's death during his trip from Dubai - where he heads the Al Wasl soccer club - to Buenos Aires, to which he had decided to return after his mother went into intensive care, media reports said.
Calculations are that the former Argentine national soccer team coach will arrive in Buenos Aires in the next few hours.
Doña Tota, the mother of eight children, had been admitted to the hospital with "a diagnosis of sepsis, reintensified chronic renal insufficiency, hemodynamic instability and deterioration in (her) general health," the Los Arcos clinic said in a statement.
"Hemodynamic support, dialysis and mechanical respiratory assistance maneuvers were begun, however despite that there was a decline with heart stoppage" at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, the clinic said.
Maradona has always been very close to his mother, to the extent that on his back he wears a tattoo of a rose with the words "Tota, te amo" (Tota, I love you).
"My mom is doing very badly. I'm just asking God not to take her from me. Please, don't take her because it would be terrible for me. Give us another chance to be able to see her at home, eat with her, drink 'mate' with her, give her a kiss," Maradona had written in August when his mother had been in the hospital on an earlier occasion.