Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning defender José Luis 'Tata' Brown has died following a long battle with Alzheimer's, his former club Estudiantes de La Plata has announced.
"Maximum day of sadness for the Albirroja (La Plata) family, our gladiator José Luis Brown has left. But his memory and love of the club will never depart," the club tweeted.
Known to his friends as 'Tata,' Brown made 36 appearances for Argentina and scored the first goal in their 3-2 World Cup final victory over West Germany in 1986.
The defender was urgently hospitalised for acute dehydration caused by Alzheimer's disease in January. Since then his health had deteriorated and in recent times he was no longer able to recognise his childeren.
"Without José Luis Brown, we would never have won the World Cup in 1986. You never complained about a thing, Tata" Argentina legend Diego Maradona said on Instagram last January, after news of his illness emerged. "You were always cool. Although you knew you weren't going to start in Mexico, you trained during the trip, in the aisles of the planes, to recover your knee. It was you who gave us strength, and not vice versa."
"Do you remember what I said before each game? 'Give it Tata, if you play well, I play well!' Give it Tata! " Maradona added.
Brown made his debut in the first division in 1975 with Estudiantes, the club he supported, and seven years later he became an icon of the club, leading them as captain to become champions of the 1982 Metropolitan and 1983 National tournaments, under the orders of coach Carlos Bilardo, who later called him up to the national team.
For the Albiceleste, he played a total of 36 games and scored a single goal, the opener against West Germany in the 1986 final.
In 1983 he was transferred to the Club Atlético Nacional in Colombia, returning two years later to Argentina to play for Boca Juniors. In 1986, he joined Deportivo Español, moving on one year later to Stade Brestois in France and in 1989 to Real Murcia in Spain. He would then return to Argentina, playing for Racing Club between 1989 and 1990.