Argentina football legend Diego Maradona underwent successful brain surgery for a subdural hematoma on Tuesday after he was admitted to a hospital a day earlier.
"I was able to evacuate the hematoma successfully and Diego tolerated the surgery very well," Leopoldo Luque, Maradona's neurosurgeon and personal physician, told reporters outside the Olivos clinic in Buenos Aires province where dozens of fans were gathered.
"Diego is under control. He has a small drain [to remove fluid] that we are planning to take out tomorrow. His stay at the hospital will depend on his evolution. But the start of his recovery was great. The way he reacted after the surgery is promising," Luque added, saying the procedure had taken around 80 minutes.
Maradona was admitted to the Ipensa clinic in La Plata on Monday with anemia, dehydration and depression. On Tuesday morning, an MRI revealed a subdural hematoma.
Maradona manages first-division side Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata but has sat out of the team's training as a precaution to avoid the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 as he is considered in the risk group. He celebrated his 60th birthday last Friday, appearing at Gimnasia's 3-0 win over Patronato before leaving at kickoff.
Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi sent a message of encouragement to Maradona on Wednesday via Instagram: "Diego, All the strength in the world. My family and I, we want to see you well as soon as possible. A hug from the heart!"
Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title and is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of all time.
Since ending his playing career in 1997, the ex-Napoli, Barcelona and Boca Juniors star has battled a series of health issues. He admitted to the hospital in January 2019 with internal bleeding in the stomach. He also fell ill at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where he was filmed passing out in an executive box at the Argentina-Nigeria game.
In 2004, he was hospitalised with severe heart and respiratory problems related to a long battle with drug addiction. He has undergone two gastric bypass operations to control his weight and also received treatment for alcohol abuse.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.