Pope Francis personal physician, Fabrizio Soccorsi, died of “complications due to Covid,” according to the Vatican’s newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Dr Soccorsi was handpicked by the Pope to serve as his doctor back in 2015, the news outlet said.
Quoting from L’Osservatore, Irish Post said Soccorsi practiced medicine at San Camillo hospital and was also the chair of clinical medicine and pharmacology in the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at La Sapienza University.
Dr Soccorsi featured over a hundred scientific publications and served a consultant to the Health and Hygiene Directorate of the Governorate of the Vatican City State
He was 78 years old at the time of his passing.
Dr Soccorsi was first hospitalised in Rome on December 26, Boxing Day, with a previous oncological disease, the Italian Bishop’s Conference newspaper Avvenire reported.
He later tested positive for Covid-19.
Adriano Pellicelli, Director Liver Unit of San Camillo Forlanini Hospital, led the tributes.
“Our Fabrizio Soccorsi has left us: I used the word “our” because Fabrizio was our doctor and head of the Hepatology Operative Unit, a unit he had created in our hospital under the then Department of Liver Diseases, Digestive System and Nutrition and Specialists.
“Fabrizio embodied the spirit of our hospital, love for patients, love for his doctors, love for his nursing staff. A man who, for us who knew him, was a particular example for the way he practiced medicine, for his calmness and tenacity in dealing with the problems that arose day after day.”
He added: “I remember when he always said a phrase that I will never forget: ‘in every difficult situation you have to know how to get involved”… which showed the desire he had to face with energy all the difficulties that a doctor has to face in his profession.”
“You were an example for us doctors of the Liver Diseases operating unit. Dear Fabrizio, you fought this last battle, but you didn’t make it. Our hospital he will always remember you as a prime example of great tenacity, professionalism, courage.”
It’s not yet clear when Dr Soccorsi last came into direct contact with Pope Francis.
The Pope is due to be vaccinated against Covid-19 next week.