Diego Maradona was improving and responding to treatment in a hospital, doctors said, as he fought for his life after a major heart attack.

“I noticed a clear improvement and we feel a little more at ease,” his doctor, Alfredo Cahe, said late Monday.

The 43-year-old Maradona was admitted to a private clinic late Sunday with heart trouble.

Maradona is being helped to breathe by a respiratory machine.

The former Argentinian star was admitted to the clinic with high blood pressure and respiratory failure just hours after seeing former side Boca Juniors play.

It emerged he had also developed a lung problem, which appeared to be pneumonia.

“He has a lung infection because of a chill,” Cahe told reporters outside the hospital.

“He is quite stable and (his progress) is relatively good.”

Asked if Maradona’s life was at risk, he replied: “There was (a risk) and there still is.”

A statement by the hospital revealed: “Maradona is receiving medication to strengthen the heart. Maradona’s rise and fall in photos

“As he has developed acute respiratory failure, he has been put on a ventilator and therefore is heavily sedated.”

Meanwhile, while a crowd of well-wishers arrived at the hospital, the country’s president spoke for many when he wished his compatriot a speedy recovery.

President Nestor Kirchner said: “(I send him) a big hug, I hope he recovers fast.

“Like all Argentines it causes me deep pain. We must stand by him…He has made all Argentines cry with joy. He is a great person.”