Former Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95, the BBC reported.
“It is with sadness that we inform you that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI passed away today at 09:34 at the Mater Ecclesia monastery in the Vatican. Additional information will be provided as soon as possible,” the Holy See said.
Benedict spent the last years of his life in this monastery. His successor, Pope Francis, shared that he often visited him there. On Wednesday, he called on the faithful to offer a special prayer for the life of the former pope because he is very ill.
Benedict ascended the throne in 2005 when he was 78, becoming one of the oldest popes ever elected. He led the Catholic Church for less than eight years. In 2013, he became the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
During most of his papacy, the Catholic Church faced accusations, legal claims and official reports of child abuse by priests.
Earlier this year, the former pope admitted that mistakes were made in the handling of abuse cases while he was archbishop of Munich between 1977 and 1982.
Pope Francis will lead the funeral service for Benedict VXI on January 5 in St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. It will begin at 9:30 a.m. local time, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.