Sadness turned to anger this week after pictures taken by a funeral worker next to Diego Maradona’s open casket were widely shared online.
In one image, a man is seen to make a thumbs-up gesture with one hand while touching Maradona’s forehead with the other, while in others he is seen posing with his son and another colleague.
The man has been revealed as Claudio Fernandez, who told Argentine station Radio Diez on Friday he had lost his job at the Sepelios Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and the third man.
Mr Fernandez said they hadn’t planned to take the photos, and asked for forgiveness over his ‘disrespectful’ and ‘offensive’ actions.
“I know a lot of people have been very offended and have taken it badly. I know it upset them.
“I ask all of them to forgive us.”
He also said he had received death threats from others living in the El Paternal neighbourhood, where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.
The three were hired by the funeral parlour to help prepare Maradona’s body and carry the coffin, according to Argentinian TV channel TN.
Maradona’s lawyer, Matias Morla, reacted with fury on social media, and after vowing to ‘personally take care of finding the scoundrel’ responsible, he then revealed the identity of the third man with a series of angry posts on Twitter.
Matias Picon, the manager of the funeral home, said he has been left ‘devastated’ by the behaviour of his staff.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 years ago