Madrid: Former Real Madrid forward Alfredo Di Stefano, 88, one of the greatest footballers of all time, has died in the Spanish capital two days after suffering a heart attack.
The club said in a statement that he passed away at the Gregorio Maranon hospital on Monday.
Argentina-born Di Stefano, who helped transform Real into one of the world’s leading teams in the 1950s and 60s, was taken to the intensive care unit on Saturday.
He had suffered an 18-minute respiratory arrest, the emergency services said.
Known as ‘La Saeta Rubia’ (blond arrow), Di Stefano joined Real in 1953 and became a naturalised Spaniard three years later.
He helped the club win five successive European Cups between 1956-60 and scored in each of the finals.
Di Stefano had health problems in recent years and was fitted with a pacemaker in 2005 after heart surgery.
“Real Madrid Football club’s president Florentino Perez and the club’s board of directors wish to express their deepest condolences and all their love and affection to his children, his family and friends,” Real Madrid said in a statement on Monday.
“Real Madrid extends its condolences to its fans around the world and to those who are feeling the emotion of losing the best player of all time.”
Di Stefano, who had previously been hospitalised for similar episodes, underwent emergency quadruple heart by-pass surgery after a heart attack in 2005.