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'How long can Maradona hold on?'

'How long can Maradona hold on?'

Doctor says football star has gained weight again and is overeating and drinking.

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  • IANS
  • Last Updated: April 14, 2007, 3:42 PM IST
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Buenos Aires: The life of former football star Diego Maradona was in serious danger prior to his renewed hospitalisation, his personal doctor has admitted.

"We had to hospitalise him because we were losing him," Alfredo Cahe said after Maradona was admitted Friday. "The million-dollar question is how long he can hold on."

The Argentine football legend was initially taken to the intensive care unit of the Teresa de Calcuta hospital in the Buenos Aires suburb of Ezeiza on Friday morning, and was later transferred to the more central Los Arcos clinic.

Cahe had said earlier that Maradona's life was not in danger and that he had been "taken into intensive care as a precaution".

Maradona had only been released from another Buenos Aires hospital early Wednesday after spending 13 days there. He was then said to have recovered from acute hepatitis in connection with alcohol abuse.

While he was resting, Maradona, 46, apparently started feeling sharp abdominal pain.

"An unusual pain, which he had never felt before," Cahe said.

Maradona's personal doctor, who has known the star for over 30 years, explained that his patient has "no pancreatitis so far, just a reactivation of his hepatitis".

Cahe said that the former player was taking an "adequate" diet apparently without excesses, so doctors do not yet know the origin of his latest health worry or its possible consequences.

According to his doctor, Maradona is scheduled to undergo more tests and will be kept in hospital for observation until at least Sunday.

Cahe noted that Maradona's "psychological situation" made it necessary for him to be released from hospital Wednesday, even though a document was signed which warned that "it was not totally appropriate" for him to go home.

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Following a few hours of his new hospitalisation, Maradona was said to be "stable" and "conscious."

Photographs on the Internet show the football legend in an ambulance, shirt-less and apparently unconscious.

Maradona has battled cocaine addiction in the past and underwent stomach-stapling surgery in 2005 to help him lose up to 50 kg.

He has recently gained weight again, and doctors said his consumption of cigars as well as food and drink has been excessive.

However, his personal doctor has said that the former player has not taken cocaine for at least one-and-a-half years.

On Thursday, Cahe criticised Maradona's release from hospital as premature, and indicated that he had not yet finished the treatment.

However, Maradona himself promised to follow doctors' orders at home, where he was set to be accompanied by a substantial medical team at all times.

The former player had even expressed an interest in attending Argentina's football classic, the game Sunday between Boca Juniors and River Plate at Boca stadium La Bombonera.

"I'll go to the stadium with IV equipment in an ambulance," Maradona joked on Wednesday.


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