Pope Francis’ personal doctor, Fabrizio Soccorsi, has died from COVID-19 complications.
According to the Vatican Newspaper, the 78-year-old physician, who was being treated for an “oncological pathology,” died at Gemelli Hospital in Rome.
Pope Francis named Soccorsi his personal physician in August 2015, after his refusal to renew 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.
Soccorsi trained in medicine and surgery at Rome’s La Sapienza University. His career included both medical practice and teaching, especially in the areas of hepatology, the digestive system, and immunology.
As Francis’ personal physician, Soccorsi travelled with the pope on his international trips.
The doctor also did consulting for the health and hygiene office of the Vatican City State and was part of the council of medical experts at the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.