Cardinal George Pell has died at the age of 81.
The former Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne was in Rome when he passed away on Tuesday night.
It's believed Cardinal Pell died after complications from a hip replacement surgery. He went into sudden cardiac arrest, it's been reported.
Cardinal Pell was the Vatican's top finance minister before he left in 2017 to stand trial in Australia for child abuse offences. In 2018, Cardinal Pell was convicted of molesting two teenage choirboys in the sacristy at St Patrick's Cathedral while he was Archbishop of Melbourne in 1996.
But Cardinal Pell always maintained his innocence and in 2020 his convictions were quashed in a unanimous decision by the High Court. He then returned to Rome.
Vatican correspondent Colm Flynn also confirmed Cardinal Pell's death on Twitter on Wednesday.
"I've just spoken to his household, and can confirm the sad news of the passing of Cardinal George Pell at the age of 81. May he rest in peace," he wrote.
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher said Cardinal Pell's death "comes as a great shock to all of us" in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
"Please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Pell, for comfort and consolation for his family and for all of those who loved him and are grieving him at this time," he said.
Pell's death comes days after Pope Benedict dies
Days before his own death, Cardinal Pell was interviewed on EWTN about the death of his ‘friend’ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who died on December 31. He died at age 95 in a Vatican gardens monastery.
Benedict was the head of the Roman Catholic Church from 2005 until he retired in 2013.
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