Sassoli dies in northern Italy after hospitalisation over Christmas.
European parliament president David Sassoli has died in hospital in northern Italy following a serious illness.
The news was announced on Twitter by his spokesman Roberto Cuillo in the early hours of 11 January.
The 65-year-old Italian politician died at 01.15 at the hospital in Aviano where he had been seriously ill for more than two weeks.
The @EP_President David Sassoli passed away at 1.15 am on 11 January at the CRO in Aviano( PN), Italy, where he was hospitalized. The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours.
— RobertoCuillo (@robertocuillo) January 11, 2022
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote on Twitter that she was "deeply saddened by the terrible loss of a great European & proud Italian."
She hailed Sassoli as "a compassionate journalist, an outstanding President of the European Parliament and, first & foremost, a dear friend."
On Monday the EU parliament confirmed that Sassoli had been admitted to hospital in Italy on 26 December "because of a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system.”
A member of the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, Sassoli had been president of the 705-seat EU parliament since 2019.
He was first elected to the European Parliament in 2009 as a member of Italy’s Partito Democratico (PD).
Sassoli won another term in 2014 and served as the parliament's vice-president.
A former television journalist, he was hospitalised with severe pneumonia in September and returned to Italy to recover.
Sassoli resumed his activities in November and indicated that he would not be seeking re-election.
Sono profondamente rattristata dalla morte di un grande europeo e italiano.
David Sassoli è stato un giornalista appassionato, uno straordinario Presidente del Parlamento europeo e soprattutto un caro amico.
I miei pensieri vanno alla sua famiglia.
Riposa in pace, caro David
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 11, 2022
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David Sassoli, EU parliament president, dies in Italy aged 65
33081 Aviano, Province of Pordenone, Italy