Pope Francis' personal doctor has passed away following a battle with coronavirus, according to the Vatican's newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.
Dr Fabrizio Soccorsi died age 78 as a result of complications relating to the virus at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome.
Soccorsi was also being treated for cancer and was undergoing oncological pathology treatments before he passed away.
The physician was named as the Pope's personal doctor back in August 2015, after his former papal doctor Patrizio Polisca's contract wasn't renewed, despite him also being the head of the Vatican's healthcare services.
Since the pontificate of St. Pope John Paul II, being the head of the healthcare services and being the Pope's personal doctor had been tied together, however, Pope Francis broke custom to hire Soccorsi.
The doctor came from outside the Vatican and worked as the Pope's personal doctor for over five years, travelling across the world on any international trips.
Pope Francis thought a lot of his doctor, and during a visit to Fatima, Portugal in May 2017, laid down two bunches of white roses by the Virgin Mary statue as a gesture to his doctor's daughter who was critically ill at the time, but has since passed away.
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The physician trained in both medicine and surgery at the La Sapienza University in Rome and following his qualification as a medical professional, he led a very varied career.
Soccorsi worked in both medical practice and teaching, and specialised in the areas of hepatology, immunology and the digestive system.
He also worked in consulting for the Vatican City State's health and hygiene office and was an important part of the council of medical experts at the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.
Only yesterday, Pope Francis announced that he planned to get a COVID-19 jab next week as part of a vaccination program at the Vatican.
In an interview with TV station Canale 5, he said: "I believe that ethically everyone should take the vaccine.
"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."
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