Violence erupts as thousands of mourners in Buenos Aires pay respects to soccer legend Diego Maradona

The soccer great died on Wednesday at the age of 60.

November 26, 2020, 2:19 PM

Police shot tear gas and rubber bullets into a massive crowd that lined the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Thursday to pay their respects to soccer legend Diego Maradona, who died on Wednesday at the age of 60.

PHOTO: Police push people back during clashes, as authorities move to shut down access to the wake of soccer legend Diego Maradona, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Police push people back during clashes, as authorities move to shut down access to the wake of soccer legend Diego Maradona, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Matias Baglietto/Reuters

The procession line, which stretched from Constitution rail station to the government house where Maradona lies in state, includes people from all walks of life, many of whom have come from faraway provinces where COVID-19 has hit hard, with many have been in lockdown for weeks or months.

It is unclear what lead police to take action against the crowd -- an unknown number of injuries were reported in the incident. Police in Buenos Aires did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

PHOTO: Police use pepper spray as they try to disperse people gathering in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace to mourn the death of soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Police use pepper spray as they try to disperse people gathering in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace to mourn the death of soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

"We demand that the mayor and city security minister stop this craziness carried out by the city police force," said Interior Minister Waldo de Pedro.

Following the news of Maradona's death, millions of Argentines went out on their balconies, sidewalks and streets all over the country -- even in the throes of a deadly pandemic -- to give their idol a sustained round of applause. The city's landmarks, stadiums, parks, plazas and the house where he died in the northern suburbs was filled with wreaths left by admirers.

PHOTO: People queue along Avenida de Mayo avenue to reach the Casa Rosada presidential palace to pay tribute to late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires, Nov. 26, 2020.
People queue along Avenida de Mayo avenue to reach the Casa Rosada presidential palace to pay tribute to late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires, Nov. 26, 2020.
Ivan Pisarenko/AFP via Getty Images

In response to the death, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez declared three days of national mourning.

Maradona died of a heart attack two weeks after being released from a hospital in Buenos Aires following brain surgery, his spokesperson told The Associated Press.

PHOTO: Fans of soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona comfort each other after visiting Maradona's funeral chapel installed at the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Fans of soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona comfort each other after visiting Maradona's funeral chapel installed at the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Juan Ignacio Roncoroni/EPA via Shutterstock

Born in Villa Fiorito in October 1960, Maradona first turned pro in his early teens, dominating at two Argentine clubs, Argentino Juniors and Boca Juniors, before becoming a household name with professional clubs in Europe including Barcelona and Napoli.

PHOTO: Players from the Argentine soccer team Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata pay their respects to Diego Maradona at the burning chapel in Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires on Nov. 26, 2020.
Players from the Argentine soccer team Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata pay their respects to Diego Maradona at the burning chapel in Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires on Nov. 26, 2020.
Argentinian Presidency Handout/AFP via Getty Images

"I remember Diego living in an apartment in Naples when he played there and I would visit and there were always, I mean always a crowd of fans outside his window," local sports writer Alejandro Apo said on Wednesday.

PHOTO: People queue along Avenida de Mayo avenue to reach the Casa Rosada presidential palace to pay tribute to late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires, Nov. 26, 2020.
People queue along Avenida de Mayo avenue to reach the Casa Rosada presidential palace to pay tribute to late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona in Buenos Aires, Nov. 26, 2020.
Ivan Pisarenko/AFP via Getty Images

Maradona's crowning achievement came as he led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup championship, which included his infamous "Hand of God" goal, to defeat England in the quarterfinal.

The soccer legend's career was not without controversy -- drug and alcohol addictions, along with a heavy interest in nightlife led to a steep downfall. During the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he failed a routine post-game drug test and was suspended for the remainder of the tournament.

PHOTO: Fans crowd next to the hearse carrying the late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona while leaving Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Fans crowd next to the hearse carrying the late Argentine football legend Diego Maradona while leaving Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 26, 2020.
Raul Ferrari/TELAM/AFP via Getty Images

The importance of Maradona to Argentina's national identity is perhaps best embodied by writer Roberto Fontanarrosa, who said, "It's not important to me what Diego did with his life, it's important what he did to mine."

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