Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has died at the age of 95, the Vatican announced on Saturday.
Pope Francis recently informed the world that the former pontiff was “very sick”.
The German-born late pope passed away on Saturday morning in his residence at the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.
Born Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, he succeeded Pope John Paul II in 2005 and became the first pope in over six centuries to step down from the role.
“With sorrow I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 AM in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Holy See press office said in a statement.
“Further information will be provided as soon as possible. As of Monday morning, 2 January 2023, the body of the Pope Emeritus will be in Saint Peter’s Basilica so the faithful can bid farewell.”
On Friday, the Vatican said Pope Benedict was resting well and that his condition was unchanged.
Pope Francis had earlier on Wednesday called for prayers for his predecessor.
“I want to ask you all for a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict who sustains the Church in his silence. He is very sick,” Francis had said.
“Let’s ask the Lord to comfort him and sustain him in this testimony of love to the church to the very end.”
Benedict XVI was the pope from April 19, 2005, until his resignation on February 28, 2013.
Since resigning, he has lived in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery inside the Vatican and has been largely withdrawn from public life.
The Holy See press office is expected to communicate the news of his funeral rites.