Pope Francis’ personal doctor, Fabrizio Soccorsi, has died from health complications related to the novel coronavirus.
According to the Catholic News Agency which quoted Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the 78-year-old physician, who was being treated for an “oncological pathology”, died at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital.
Soccorsi had trained in medicine and surgery at Rome’s La Sapienza University.
In August 2015, Pope Francis named him his personal physician, after not renewing the term of papal doctor Patrizio Polisca, who was also head of the Vatican’s healthcare services.
Since the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II, the two positions had been tied together, but Pope Francis diverged from this custom by choosing Soccorsi, a doctor from outside the Vatican.
While he was alive, Soccorsi travelled with the pope on many of his international trips.
In May 2017, on one of the visits to Fatima, Portugal, the Pope laid two bunches of white roses before the statue of the Virgin Mary for Soccorsi’s daughter, who was critically ill, and died the following month.