Iraqi football icon Ahmed Radhi dies at 56 due to COVID-19
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi football legend Ahmed Radhi passed away on Sunday aged 56 due to health complications from COVID-19, the Iraqi health ministry announced.
The ex-footballer was diagnosed with the coronavirus after he tested positive last week. Radhi remained at a hospital in Baghdad and was discharged on Thursday following an improvement to his health.
However, the 56-year-old was re-admitted almost immediately, returning to the hospital within hours after his release.
Radhi was expected to travel to Jordan to receive further treatment, but he passed away early Sunday.
An iconic figure in Iraqi football history, the striker made history for his nation when he scored in a 2-1 loss to Belgium in the group stage of the 1986 FIFA World Cup in Mexico. Iraq would eventually exit the tournament after failing to secure a single point from three matches, but Radhi was always remembered for that historic goal.
Tributes for the ex-footballer poured in from politicians to athletes.
The retired footballer, and former captain of the Iraqi national team, Younis Mahmoud, paid tribute to the striker on Twitter.
ابكيت قلبي قبل عيني حبيبي ابو هيا اكبر صدمة والله يصعب عليه هذا البوست لا حول ولا قوة الا بالله .. انا لله وانا اليه راجعون .. pic.twitter.com/vFoSBOjmnu— يونس محمود (@YounisMahmoud10) June 21, 2020
“Ahmed Radhi passed away wearing the green jersey, which he loved so much that we loved him in,’ Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said in a statement.
Iraq has suffered immensely from the outbreak of COVID-19, mainly due to its shared border with Iran, where many of the cases have come from.
The Iraqi health ministry on Sunday announced 87 deaths and about 1,650 new coronavirus infections across the country in the past 24 hours, raising the national total to 30,868 cases and 1,100 deaths due to coronavirus-related complications.