Real Madrid great Alfredo Di Stefano died in a hospital Monday, two days after a heart attack, the Spanish club said. He was 88.
He was taken to Gregorio Maranon hospital in the Spanish capital on Saturday and spent two days in a coma before he passed away.
Real Madrid issued a statement saying its “honorary president, Alfredo Di Stefano, has passed away today at 17:15.”
Di Stefano helped Real Madrid win five straight European Champions Cups from 1956-60 and eight Spanish league titles. He was voted European player of the year in 1957 and ‘59.
In a career spanning five clubs in three countries — Argentina, Colombia and Spain— from 1945-1966, Di Stefano scored 789 goals in 1,090 matches. In the process he claimed top-scorer status once in the Argentine league, twice in Colombia’s league and five times in Spain.
However, as FIFA acknowledges on its official website, “statistics will show that Alfredo Di Stefano is one of the world’s greatest ever goalscorers, but the bare facts only tell part of the story.”
He retired at the age of 40 in 1966, ending a 22-year playing career.
Di Stefano turned 88 on Friday. The following day, he had a heart attack on a Madrid street near the club’s Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Paramedics were able to resuscitate Di Stefano after 18 minutes, but he spent the following two days in a coma.
The club’s statement said “Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and its executive board want to express their deepest condolences and all their sympathy and affection for his children, family members and friends.”
Madrid appointed Di Stefano honorary president in 2000 and named its new training complex after him six years later, with a statue erected in his honor in 2008.
A diabetic, Di Stefano underwent a quadruple bypass with a pacemaker implanted in December 2005 after having a heart attack. He has been hospitalized several times in recent years to monitor his heart condition.