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Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano dies at the age of 88

Jul 7, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT

di stefano AP

One of the greatest players the world has ever seen passed away on Monday, as Alfredo Di Stéfano has died at the age of 88.

According to the Reuters news agency and Spanish newspapers, Di Stefano died on Monday in hospital after he suffered a heart attack on Saturday as he was walking in the street close to Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium. Since Saturday he has been in an induced coma in the intensive care unit at the Gregorio Marañon hospital in central Madrid.

Here is the official release on Di Stefano’s death (in Spanish) as fans of Real, Argentina, Spain and soccer fans across the globe are mourning the death of a true soccer legend.

[ VIDEO - The story of global icon, Di Stefano ]

[ RELATED: Fact file on Di Stefano's career ]

The honorary president of Real Madrid, and one of the best players in the clubs history, could no longer fight on after several health issues over the previous years.  In 2005 he was fitted with a pacemaker after suffering a myocardial infarction. In the past years, his role as honorary president saw Di Stefano being present at every single player unveiling at Real Madrid. He was the talisman for one of the greatest clubs in the world.

A former international for Argentina, Colombia and Spain, Di Stefano joined Real Madrid in 1953 and was the leading light as they became the greatest team Europe has ever seen. Di Stefano scored in five-straight European Cup finals as Real won all five from 1956 to 1960. The Argentine-born striker was one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, as his marauding, yet powerful, style won him fans across the world. He was a hero at Real Madrid.

Di Stefano won six caps for Argentina and played four times for Colombia during a spell in that country’s league. FIFA failed to recognize his caps for Colombia and in 1954 they said he could not play for Spain. However they then reversed that decision in 1957 after Di Stefano became a Spanish citizen as he won 31 caps for Spain, scoring 23 goals.

His death will bring great sadness to the entire soccer community, as a true legend of the game has been lost.

RIP, Alfredo. The legend of ‘the blond arrow’ will live on forever.

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