January 8, 2000
MONTEVIDEO, JANUARY 7: Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona left the intensive care unit of an Uruguayan hospital and his doctors said he could be released within 48 hours if his condition continues to improve.
Maradona, 39, was rushed to the Cantegryl Sanatorium in Punta Deleste on Tuesday with high blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat in connection with an overdose of cocaine, which was determined by blood and urine tests.
Uruguayan justice officials are waiting for permission from Maradona’s doctors to talk to the 1986 world champion to find out who sold him the cocaine. He himself is not facing any judicial action since consumption of drugs is not punishable in Uruguay. Drug trafficking, however, carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
As part of the police investigation, many apartments in Punta a favourite meeting spot in the summer for the rich and beautiful in South America have been searched and people in contact with Maradona have been interviewed.
Regional police bossMaximo Costa has offered little information so far about the state of the investigation. The career of Maradona, who turns 40 in October and has appeared recently overweight, has been overshadowed by drug abuse several times.
He was convicted and jailed for illegal cocaine use while he played for Naples in Italy and banned for 15 months by the football world governing body Fifa.
During the 1994 World Cup in the United States, he tested positive for the stimulant ephedrine and had to sit out another 15-month ban. He also tested positive for cocaine later in the Argentinean premier league.
Later, Maradona twice tried his hand at coaching teams in his homeland, without success.
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