Ahmed Radhi, one of Iraq’s most celebrated footballers, has died as a result of complications arising out of Covid-19, the Iraqi health ministry said.
Scorer of Iraq’s only goal against Belgium in the 1986 World Cup which was held in Mexico , he was voted Asian player of the year in 1988. He scored 62 goals in 121 appearances for his national team, before retiring from international football in 1997.
Radhi, who was a member of the Iraqi parliament in its previous session, was transferred to hospital after he complained of sudden increase in temperature and severe weakness. Tests showed he was Covid-19 positive but he had checked out from the hospital on Thursday after his condition improved.
Radi had said Saturday in a video recording, one of his latest statements, "I was having trouble sleeping, and today I was able to sleep ... sometimes I feel difficult to breathe and this is normal."
He was preparing on Sunday to fly for treatment to the Jordanian capital, Amman, where his family resides.
But his condition deteriorated and he was readmitted to Alnuman Hospital in Baghdad and he passed away early on Sunday.
Ahmed Radhi's death comes a few weeks after the death of the former international player Ali Hadi, who also succumbed to the coronavirus.
"With great sadness and sorrow, we mourn our lifelong companion, our fans' ardent star, the unrivalled athlete and son of Iraq, Ahmed Radhi," said Iraq's new sports minister Adnan Darjal, himself a former footballer.
"Farewell, Abu Faisal, goodbye to my brother Ahmed Radhi," wrote former star and Iraqi League President Hussein Saeed.
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