European Parliament President David Sassoli has died at a hospital in Italy, his spokesman said in a tweet Tuesday. No details were offered in the tweet by spokesman Roberto Cuillo beyond Sassoli’s death at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in Aviano, a city in northeastern Italy.
“The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours.”
The 65-year-old Italian had been seriously ill in hospital for more than two weeks due to a dysfunction of his immune system.
Sassoli, was first elected at the European Parliament in 2009. He won another term in 2014 and served as the Parliament’s Vice President. He had decided not to run for re-election when lawmakers vote to appoint their new president later this month.
The European Parliament, headquartered in in Strasbourg, France, represents the 450 million citizens of the European Unoin and refers to itself as “the heart of European democracy.” It is one of the seven branches of the EU and has more than 700 members directly elected by its member nations.
“What a big shock and a big loss. I am deeply saddened,” MEP Ismail Ertug wrote on Twitter.
Another MEP, Paolo Borchia, expressed condolences to Mr Sassoli’s family and said the news had left him “stunned”.
(With inputs from agencies)