|By Bhas Kunju
Indonesian football fans were in mourning on Tuesday after the loss of former PSSB Bireun striker Diego Mendieta due to Cytomegalovirus infection.
Mendieta was last playing for Central Java-based Persis Solo in the Liga Indonesia Premier, the second-tier of professional football in Indonesia. The 32-year-old also previously had spells with Persitara and Johor FC in the Malaysian Super League.
The forward was rushed to the Dr Muwardi Solo Hospital a week ago after complaining of headache and frequent vomiting. Examination results pointed towards typhoid fever and liver disease.
It was not the first time Mendieta had been hospitalized. He had previously been admitted to Yarsis Hospital and PKU Muhammadiyah but was forced to go home as he could not afford the care.
Mendieta had not been paid by his former club for over four months, an amount that is reported to be around US$12,000.
The player was in critical condition before his death at Dr Muwardi Solo Hospital on early Tuesday morning. Persis fans raised US$300 for his final days in hospital and were by his side at his passing.
Days before his death, Mendieta had made a plea in an interview with a local newspaper for a passage home to be with his mother who lives in Argentina and stated his desire to not die in Indonesia.
Mendieta leaves behind a wife and three children, Enzo, Cielo Belin, and Gaston. His body is scheduled to be buried in his homeland.