Pope Francis (pictured) personal doctor has died from health complications related to Covid-19, the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano reported on Saturday.
Fabrizio Soccorsi, 78, died on Saturday after days of battling the virus.
According to reports, he was in the hospital and was being treated for cancer. He was hospitalised in Rome on December 26 for a previous oncological disease.
Soccorsi was chosen as Pope’s personal doctor in 2015.
It’s not clear when Soccorsi was last in direct contact with Pope Francis.
However, the pontiff has announced that he will receive the Covid-19 vaccination next week.
In an interview with Italy’s Canale 5 channel, the Pope said he is among the individuals lined up to receive the jab and urged everyone to get the shot to protect not only their lives but those of others.
“Here in the Vatican we will start next week, I am also I line to take it,” he said, adding that it is an ethical choice because you are not only “gambling with your health, with your life but you are also gambling with the lives of others.”
The Vatican’s health director said the city-state will be using the vaccine produced by Pfizer-BioNTech.
“I don’t know why some will say, ‘No, the vaccine is dangerous.’ But if doctors offer it to you as something that can work, that poses no special risk, why not take it? There is a suicidal denialism that I wouldn’t know how to explain, but today you need to take the vaccine,” Pope Francis said.
The pontiff in his Christmas message had also urged nations to make the coronavirus vaccine available and pleaded with states to cooperate in the race to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic that had killed thousands.
Pope Francis had part of one lung removed during an illness when he was younger making him potentially vulnerable to the disease.
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