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Gerard O’ConnellMarch 29, 2023
pope francis helped by a man in black to get into a carPope Francis helped to get on his car at the end of weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, March 29, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis has “a respiratory infection that requires some days of appropriate medical therapy in hospital,” Matteo Bruni, the director of the Vatican press office, said in a statement, sent by telegram to the Vatican accredited media on the evening of March 29. Tests were carried out on him this afternoon at the Gemelli Hospital in Rome and “excluded” that the pope has Covid-19.

“Pope Francis complained of some respiratory difficulties in the past days and this afternoon went to the Gemelli Hospital for medical checks,” the statement said. 

The Vatican said Pope Francis “was touched by the many messages received and expressed his gratitude for closeness and prayers [of people].”

Pope Francis has “a respiratory infection that requires some days of appropriate medical therapy in hospital,” the Vatican press office said in a statement.

Pope Francis, 86, was taken to hospital in an ambulance around lunchtime today after he complained of chest pains, America learned from senior Vatican sources who were not authorized to comment and Italian media.

The Vatican press office had said earlier on Wednesday that Francis was taken to the hospital for previously scheduled tests.

One source told America that Francis experienced the pains when he returned to Santa Marta, the Vatican residence where he resides, after conducting the usual Wednesday public audience where he seemed to be in good form. He canceled an interview with an Italian journalist that had been planned for after the audience.

When he experienced the pains, Massimiliano Strappetti, his personal health care assistant who always accompanies him, decided to call the ambulance, which took him to the Gemelli Hospital in Rome where he was taken immediately to the coronary unit for check-ups. He is still in hospital, and all audiences in the Vatican have been canceled until Saturday, a senior Vatican source told America.

A source said that Francis had seemed tired on Monday but on Tuesday he was in good form.

This story has been updated.

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