Arianna Mihajlovic: We didn’t tell Sinisa he was dying

One year on from his passing, many are reminiscing about Sinisa Mihajlovic. His wife since 1995, Arianna Rapaccioni, has spoken out about the late football legend in Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily newspaper.

In the article, Rapaccioni recalls her husband’s denial of his illness. She stated: “He kept saying, ‘What illness do I have?’ and I would tell him: You have acute myeloid leukaemia.” She went on to describe how Mihajlovic didn’t read medical reports or search about his disease online, but was interested in what treatments were necessary to start. He held onto hope until the end.

The last month of Mihajlovic’s life was undoubtedly difficult. Rapaccioni confessed that the doctors had informed her he was going to die. She discussed the tragic prognosis with their five children. They decided not to share the information with Mihajlovic, so he could keep his hopeful attitude. “He always fought because he was a man who couldn’t accept death. In fact, a week before he passed, he said that he was happy because he had his family around and he wanted to grow old with them and his grandkids,” she said.

Rapaccioni expressed regret over some words she wished to tell Mihajlovic in his last days, but refrained for fear of alarming him. Nevertheless, moments before his death, a conversation with a friend led to Mihajlovic expressing his love for Rapaccioni. “He said he loved me, and so I told him I loved him too,” she said.

Despite her regrets, Rapaccioni feels grateful for the time she spent with Mihajlovic. She has no regrets in regards to the support she provided during his four year battle with cancer. However, she misses the good times of family vacations and Christmas celebrations.

Rapaccioni cherishes many memories of Mihajlovic, especially those showcasing his generosity. “He always helped everyone,” she said, also pointing out his passion for football. “When he attended the game against Verona on 25 March 2019, he was trembling and short of breath, but he went ahead,” she recalled.

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