3 funeral workers fired over Diego Maradona coffin photos

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 26: Fans stand on top of a container as riots start during Diego Maradona's funeral on November 26, 2020 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Federico Peretti/Getty Images)

Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.

The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation’s presidential palace on Thursday.

RELATED: Soccer legend Diego Maradona passes away at age 60

Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez on Friday that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - NOVEMBER 26: Fans cheer and shout to pay tribute during the burial ceremony of Argentine football legend Diego Maradona at Jardin Bellavista on November 26, 2020 in Bellavista, Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Tomas Cuesta

One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona’s body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.

Fernández insisted that he hadn’t known they’d planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I’d just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.

He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighborhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.

"They know me. I’m from the neighborhood," Fernández said. "They say they are going to kill us, break our heads."

The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.

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