The personal doctor of Pope Francis has died from COVID-19 complications.
Fabrizio Soccorsi, the 78-year-old physician was admitted to Rome’s Gemelli Hospital for a previous health issue on December 26, Catholic News Agency has reported.
While he was dealing with an “oncological pathology,” he later died of COVID, the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano said.
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.
The Pope recently admitted that it was within Catholic doctrine, and actually an ethical obligation, to receive vaccination against COVID, pledging to receive his first dose shortly.
“It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process,” the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in a statement approved by Francis in December.