Pope Francis’ personal physician, Fabrizio Soccorsi, has died at the age of 78 of complications from the coronavirus, reported the Catholic News Agency.
Soccorsi had been undergoing treatment for an “oncological pathology,” before he succumbed to the virus at at Rome’s Gemelli Hospital, according to the report.
Appointed by Pope Francis in August 2015, Soccorsi succeeded Parizio Palisca, Pope Benedict XVI”s personal doctor. He also served as head of Vatican healthcare services.
Pope Francis had a strong bond with his doctor, according to an iMedia report. Soccorsi accompanied him on international trips. When the pope traveled to Fatima, Portugal in May2017, he placed two bouquets of white roses before the statue of the Virgin Mary on behalf of Soccorsi’s critically ill daughter, died two months later.
Born in 1942, Soccorsi graduated in Surgical Medicine from the University of La Sapienza in 1968, according to an iMedia report. He directed several key departments within the San Camillo Forlanini Hospital in Rome, and also pursued a teaching career. The author of over 100 scientific publications and contributions, for several years he also headed the chair of clinical medicine and pharmacology at the faculty of medicine and surgery at La Sapienza University.
Pope Francis announced on Saturday that he would soon receive the vaccination against COVID-19. In an interview with Italian television channel TG5, the pope said that he had made an appointment get the vaccine and urged everyone to get vaccinated.
“I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine,” he said, according to a New York Post report. “It is an ethical choice because you are gambling with your health, with your life, but you are also gambling with the lives of others.”