3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

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Mourning fans wave from an overpass at the caravan carrying the remains of Diego Maradona to his resting place in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. The Argentine soccer great who was among the best players ever and who led his country to the 1986 World Cup title died from a heart attack at his home Wednesday, at the age of 60. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.

The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation’s presidential palace on Thursday.

Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.

One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona’s body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.

Fernández insisted that he hadn’t known they’d planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I’d just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.

He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighborhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.

“They know me. I’m from the neighborhood,” Fernández said. “They say they are going to kill us, break our heads.”

The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.ience (asterisk)

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