Former pope Benedict XVI, who became the first pontiff to resign in some 600 years, has died aged 95.
Pope Francis, who replaced him as head of the Catholic Church, had asked the faithful to pray for him at the end of his general audience on Wednesday morning.
An announcement that shocked the Catholic world
Before being elected pope in 2005, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger served as the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He held the powerful role for 24 years, earning the nickname “God’s Rottweiler” for his strictly conservative theological views.
Some ultra-traditionalists even refused to acknowledge Pope Francis as a legitimate pontiff after Benedict stood down, criticising Francis for his more welcoming approach to members of the LGBTQ+ community and to Catholics who divorced and remarried outside the Church, arguing both were undermining traditional values.