By Matias Grez, CNN
(CNN) -- Dawn had barely broken and already the queue of people waiting to pay their respects to Diego Maradona, who was lying in honor at the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, was estimated to be more than a mile long.
Some media outlets put the number of fans that would eventually gather there at around one million.
Across the Argentine capital, the city of his beloved Boca Juniors, many more paid their own special homage throughout the night, the innumerable murals of Maradona painted around the city each acting as a shrine.
Fans laid out the shirts of Argentina, Boca and Argentinos Juniors -- Maradona's first club -- across the pavements, lit candles and brought flowers. As they congregated, there was a mixture of celebration for what was and grief that his enigmatic story had ended.
His death on Wednesday prompted an outpouring of sorrow, led by President Alberto Fernndez who quickly announced three days of national mourning.
The impact of Maradona's passing, however, will be felt for many years to come in Argentina.
READ: The tormented genius who became one of football's greatest players
"For many reasons, which would probably take anthropologists and sociologists years to unravel, in Argentina football has a significant cultural role as a unifying factor in the forging of our national identity," Argentine journalist Marcela Mora y Araujo tells CNN Sport.
"So the combination of the game that people like to identify with and the best player in the world also identifying with that national emblem has led to him becoming a very treasured Argentinian -- almost national monument.
"His coffin is lying in wake today, in exactly the same way and place, where Evita's was and Peron's [former Argentina president and first lady] after her and so, in a sense, he is continuing a tradition of time honored Argentines who are also quite divisive.
"It doesn't mean everybody feels the same way about them all or that they're not controversial figures, but they represent something very, very, very key to the core of being Argentinian."
READ: Naples mourns Diego Maradona as his former club bids to rename the stadium in his honor
Maradona was Argentina's "Golden Boy," unquestionably the greatest player of his generation and one of the greatest in the game's history.
While he was already an icon before Argentina's victorious 1986 World Cup campaign, his performances in Mexico -- in particular the quarterfinal against England, which was played four years after the bloody Falklands War -- ensured his immortality in Argentina.
"D10s" -- with the letters 'i' and 'o' replaced by his iconic No. 10 -- would go on to become one of his enduring nicknames. "God."
Maradona, as has been widely documented, was flawed, but perhaps people saw some of themselves in those imperfections.
Born in the poor Villa Fiorito area of Buenos Aires, he raised himself out of poverty but never forgot where he came from.
"He was quite unique in the ability to be quite so vulnerable, so weak, so damaged, if you like, and also so successful, so gifted, so brilliant," Mora y Araujo says. "So in a way, we are all a little bit like him and he represents all men and all humans.
"We all identify to some level with some of his contradictions, some of his vulnerabilities, some of his issues and he was just an extreme exponent, like a pendulum. He did everything better, bigger, more, and he fell lower, more dangerously and darker.
"I would suggest that's the universal aspect of his appeal. I think people all over the world identify and acknowledge and recognize that and feel somehow reassured by the incredible humanity of someone who is seemingly superhuman."
READ: Diego Maradona lying in honor at Argentina's presidential palace
On the field, however, Maradona was as close to perfect as the game is ever likely to find.
He played football in an era not meant for players of his abilities; pitches were mud baths or dry and dusty and defenders were given free rein to scythe him down as they pleased.
But still Maradona shone, and far brighter than any of his contemporaries.
In other parts of the world -- notably England -- Maradona's "Hand of God" goal continues to remain arguably his most defining moment.
In Argentina, however, that incident is just a side note in an extraordinary legacy.
For many, it was sad to watch Maradona's health deteriorate following the end of his playing career, as he sought to fill the void that the joy of playing football had left.
"Definitely the images of the young, able Maradona dribbling, kicking the ball up in the air, smiling, training to music will prevail and they will be played over and over on a loop," Mora y Araujo says.
"I think the images of the more deteriorated Maradona might well be the more recent, but I don't necessarily think they will be the more enduring.
"If you look at pictures of him over time, he, you know, balloons in and out, he looks ill and well, old and young at various points. It's not a linear transformation at all.
"Interestingly, the still images of him overtime do exactly the same thing. You just see somebody that ages and rejuvenates and gets fatter and thinner and fitter and iller over time, not in a linear way.
"So I suspect that is what we will be left with, is this incredibly transformative being that in every expression of themselves actually had the same effect, ultimately, which is to impact millions and millions of lives."
With his death, millions of Argentines have lost a link to a glorious past, one in which they and Maradona ruled the world of football.
The-CNN-Wire & 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.
Read the rest here:
- Shadow and Bone Recap: Now Kiss - Vulture - April 29th, 2021
- Misinformation will prevail | Opinion | dailyitem.com - Sunbury Daily Item - April 29th, 2021
- TFT Set 5 Reckoning Shadow items: Updated stats and best-in-slot - Dot Esports - April 29th, 2021
- Dying for immortality, this artist wants you to dispose of her body - Sydney Morning Herald - April 23rd, 2021
- Opening the Gate to Immortality: 25 years of Satyricon's Nemesis Divina - Invisible Oranges - April 23rd, 2021
- How (not) to be a god The Bowdoin Orient - The Bowdoin Orient - April 23rd, 2021
- The X-Men Are Losing Their Soul, and Nightcrawler Wants to Find It - Gizmodo - April 23rd, 2021
- Artificial Hearts: Could They Be the Key to Immortality? - Interesting Engineering - April 21st, 2021
- New study sheds light on the interplay between belief in an afterlife and secular-symbolic avenues to immortality - PsyPost - April 21st, 2021
- Messages of Faith: Resurrection is the answer for immortality - Daily Record-News - April 17th, 2021
- Exploring immortality and the value of life - Bangkok Post - Bangkok Post - April 17th, 2021
- Overwatch players are furious at the worst Experimental patch yet - Dexerto - April 17th, 2021
- 'Tina': The Ultimate Thesis of Why She Deserves Rock Hall Immortality - wmgk.com - March 31st, 2021
- Three top contenders in the fray for Indian Derby - The Hindu - March 31st, 2021
- Immortal Jellyfish, Radiated Tortoise, and More: 11 Ancient Animals Older Than Every Human on Earth - Nature World News - March 31st, 2021
- Keanu Reeves' BRZRKR Can Show Why He'd Be The Perfect MCU Wolverine - Screen Rant - March 31st, 2021
- Daily Recco, March 17: The People in the Trees, battling immortality and immorality - DailyO - March 21st, 2021
- Hulk Crushes the Avengers in Jaw-Dropping New Alex Ross Cover Art - Screen Rant - March 21st, 2021
- Unheard-of//Ensemble probes inner space in Messiaen's Quartet and new works - South Florida Classical Review - March 21st, 2021
- Katrick: The color green and its many meanings - The Newark Advocate - March 21st, 2021
- 10 Comic Book Superpowers That Are Highly Overrated | CBR - CBR - March 21st, 2021
- Millennials on Exhibit at the Russian Museum - The Moscow Times - March 21st, 2021
- Star Wars: How the Great Sith War Changed the Galaxy | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - March 21st, 2021
- Wonder Woman: 10 Facts About The Amazons You Need To Know | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - February 22nd, 2021
- How to achieve immortality and have a food named after you - The Takeout - February 21st, 2021
- How rejecting Inter and Lyon set Andre-Pierre Gignac on his way to Tigres immortality - Squawka - February 10th, 2021
- Marvel Confirms Thanos Can't Be Killed, But Not For The Reason You Think - Screen Rant - February 10th, 2021
- Why Bayern Munich's opponents, Tigres, are taking the Club World Cup seriously, even if Europe is not - DW (English) - February 10th, 2021
- 'The Bitter Comes With The Sweet': Without Death, There Is No Life - WBUR - February 10th, 2021
- Disney Pixar's Soul: how the moviemakers took Plato's view of existence and added a modern twist - The Conversation UK - February 10th, 2021
- Life after death: Woman 'engulfed by light and God' in afterlife vision - Daily Express - February 10th, 2021
- Charles Woodson's Words Prove Just How Special The Hall Of Fame Is - Wolverine Maven - February 10th, 2021
- Cicely, Cloris, and two paths to Hollywood immortality - The Boston Globe - February 2nd, 2021
- Regular Exercise and Lifting Weights Might Be the Key to Immortality - The Great Courses Daily News - February 2nd, 2021
- Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki believes users will create the metaverse - VentureBeat - January 29th, 2021
- Does Matthew Die in 'A Discovery of Witches'? The Vampire's Fate Revealed! - Distractify - January 29th, 2021
- Cyberpunk 2077's Development Was Shorter Than Anyone Realized - CBR - Comic Book Resources - January 19th, 2021
- How Star Wars Could Bring Back A Weapon More Powerful Than The Darksaber - Screen Rant - January 19th, 2021
- How to Fix Some of the Bachelors Thorny Logistical Issues - The Ringer - January 19th, 2021
- JUANITA FLOYD: What testimony will you leave behind? - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - January 17th, 2021
- The Kansas City Chiefs can secure place among NFLs all-time greatest teams - Arrowhead Addict - January 17th, 2021
- Kumbh Mela 2021 dates: Everything you need to know - The Indian Express - January 17th, 2021
- WandaVision Featurette May Be Hiding Another Major Avenger | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - January 17th, 2021
- What happened to Jack on Macgyver? Here is the characters fate in the latest episode - Republic World - January 17th, 2021
- Essenes in Judaean Society: the sectarians of the Dead Sea Scrolls - OUPblog - January 17th, 2021
- 'I'm Thinking of Ending Things' and 'Ham on Rye': Odds and ends - People's World - January 17th, 2021
- Lord Of The Rings: 10 Things About Arwen and Aragorn's Relationship That Make No Sense - Screen Rant - January 17th, 2021
- CRYPTOSIS Take You Behind The Scenes Of "Prospect Of Immortality" Music Video - bravewords.com - January 9th, 2021
- Holocaust Memorial Center hosts 'Soap Myth' online reading and discussion - The Detroit News - January 9th, 2021
- Ahead of the national championship, Justin Fields high school coach relives his dominance in Georgia - Saturday Down South - January 9th, 2021
- Inverted tulips, juniper trees added to Iran's national heritage list - Tehran Times - January 9th, 2021
- How are former Yankees doing in the Hall of Fame voting? - Empire Sports Media - January 9th, 2021
- how is the calendar and when are the long weekends in the year - Explica - January 9th, 2021
- Unexpected discovery about stem cell immortality study - News - The University of Sydney - November 29th, 2020
- Dessie Hutchinson's journey from Brighton to the brink of hurling immortality with Waterford - Independent.ie - November 29th, 2020
- MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the 2021 ballot - Call to the Pen - November 29th, 2020
- Mythical Beasts that Simply Scream Nanjing - The Nanjinger - November 29th, 2020
- Maradonas divine goal and worthy absurdities - Mint - November 29th, 2020
- Exploring the Last Green Valley: Beauty found in December evergreens - Norwich Bulletin - November 29th, 2020
- Amazing Cultivation Simulator blends Taoist philosophy with Dwarf Fortress - PCGamesN - November 29th, 2020
- The myth of the apple - Evangelical Focus - November 29th, 2020
- Maradona flew and fell. It is why we loved him - The Straits Times - November 29th, 2020
- #ComicBytes: The comic book origin of Nick Fury | NewsBytes - NewsBytes - November 29th, 2020
- Never Seen Before Tolkien Works Will Be Published In 2021 - Unreserved Media - November 29th, 2020
- New Lord Of The Rings Book Announced, Will Reveal Who Can Grow Beards - GameSpot - November 29th, 2020
- Reminiscing grandmother during days of coronavirus - Hurriyet Daily News - November 29th, 2020
- Sean Connery: Bond and superstar - Frontline - November 29th, 2020
- Divock Origi has gone from unstoppable to invisible - Rousing the Kop - November 29th, 2020
- A Year of Free Comics: Immortality isnt all that it seems in LIVE FOREVER - Comics Beat - August 26th, 2020
- Under Ben Bulben: Neymar And A Saga Of Resurrection And Immortality - World Football Index - August 26th, 2020
- Rick and Morty plot hole: Rick's ride on the Whirly Dirly creates huge immortality blunder - Express - August 26th, 2020
- Sleeps With Monsters: Into the Woods With Emily Tesh and Carrie Vaughn - tor.com - August 26th, 2020
- Emily Dickinson is the unlikely hero of our time - Fairfield Citizen - August 26th, 2020
- Doom Patrol Leaves the Fate of the Whole Team Up in the Air | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - August 26th, 2020
- Parenting in a pandemic? Your teen is counting on you more than ever - Your Valley - August 26th, 2020
- ALLEN IVERSON PAYS TRIBUTE TO KOBE Greatness needs company, and we needed each other. - Basketball Network - August 26th, 2020
- Lovecraft Country: Why the Sons of Adams Ritual Failed | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - August 26th, 2020
- Lord of the Rings: 10 Things That Make No Sense About Orcs - Screen Rant - August 26th, 2020
- Hakuho may be on path to becoming great stablemaster if latest recruit pans out - The Japan Times - August 26th, 2020
- The Unbelievable True Story Of How The Memphis Pyramid Became A Bass Pro Shops - Forbes - August 26th, 2020