Former Pope Benedict XVI has died at his Vatican residence, aged 95, nearly 10 years after he resigned due to frail health.
“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.
Born Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict led the Catholic Church for less than eight years from 2005 to 2013.
He was the first Pope to resign from the Holy See since Gregory XII in 1415 since the work was aggravating his his health condition.
He was succeeded by Pope Francis.
On Wednesday, Pope Francis appealed to his final audience of the year at the Vatican to “pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict”, whom he said was very ill.
For much of his papacy, the Catholic Church faced allegations, legal claims, and official reports into decades of child abuse by priests.
Earlier this year, the former Pope acknowledged that errors had been made in the handling of abuse cases while he was archbishop of Munich between 1977 and 1982.