The Argentinian football legend died at home, his lawyer said, just three weeks after having surgery on a blood clot in his brain.
Maradona won the World Cup with Argentina in 1986, having knocked England out of the tournament in a match which saw him score the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal and another – widely considered to be one of the greatest goals of all time.
Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time on the pitch, his life off the pitch was equally notorious – amid battles with drug and alcohol addiction.
Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez decreed three days of mourning following Maradona’s death.
‘You took us to the top of the world. You made us immensely happy. You were the greatest of all,’ the Argentine leader tweeted. ‘Thanks for having existed, Diego. We will miss you for a lifetime.’
The footballer’s family have yet to make any formal comment.
Nine ambulances were sent to his house at around midday on Wednesday in the exclusive gated residential neighbourhood of San Andres north of Buenos Aires where Maradona went to live after leaving hospital.
Local reports said one of the nurses caring for him had raised the alarm after discovering he had suffered a suspected heart attack.
None of the paramedics who rushed to the house were able to do anything to save him
Argentina’s former manager Cesar Luis Menotti said: ‘I’m devastated. I can’t believe it. I’m absolutely gutted. There’s no more I can say at this moment.
‘I thought at first the news of his death was fake news but obviously it’s what happened. It’s terrible and a tragic surprise because measures had been taken to make sure he was being looked after.’
There is no suggestion there is anything suspicious about Maradona’s death, but state prosecutors are on their way to the house where the soccer legend died as part of a routine investigation.
A team of psychologists are also understood to be on their way to the property.
During Maradona’s time with Italian side Napoli he won the Serie A title in 1987 and 1990, along with an Italian Cup in 1987 and a Uefa Cup in 1991.
But it was also during these years that his addiction to cocaine took hold. In 1991, the year he left the club, he was given a 15-month suspension for drug violations.
In 1994 he was thrown out of the World Cup in America after failing a drugs test, before retiring from football in 1997.
In 1999 and 2000 he was taken to hospital suffering heart problems, the second time requiring a respirator to breathe.
In 2004, he was again treated in hospital for severe heart and respiratory problems linked to his drug abuse.
He has undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and received treatment for alcohol abuse.
In January, he had surgery to stem bleeding in his stomach and in July he underwent a knee operation.