Pope is dead, Vatican says

Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history's most-traveled pope, has died at 84, the Vatican announced Saturday.

    The faithful in a Manila church light candles for Pope John Paul II

    "The Holy Father died this evening at 9:37 p.m. in his private apartment. All the procedures outlined in the apostolic Constitution `Universi Dominici Gregis' that was written by John Paul II on Feb. 22, 1996, have been put in motion."

    The announcement came from papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls and was distributed to journalists via e-mail.

    The pope died after suffering heart and kidney failure after two hospitalizations in as many months.

    Just a few hours earlier, the Vatican has said he was in "very serious" condition but had responded to members of the papal household.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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