President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, dies

FILE PHOTO: European Parliament President David Sassoli addresses a press conference at the EU Parliament in Brussels, September 12, 2019. REUTERS / Francois Lenoir

Jan 11 (Reuters) – The president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, died on Tuesday in the hospital in Italy where he had been admitted since December 26, according to his spokesman and his office.

Sassoli, 65, died at 1:15 a.m. (0015 GMT), his spokesman, Roberto Cuillo, said on Twitter.

Sassoli, an Italian socialist and former Florence journalist, had been hospitalized last month due to a “serious complication” related to his immune system, his office said Monday.

He was president of the Parliament made up of 705 deputies since 2019.

In his inauguration speech, Sassoli had urged Europeans to counter the “virus” of extreme nationalism and called for a reform of the EU rules on migration and political asylum.

His tenure in this predominantly ceremonial role was to end this month.

Due to his illness, he has been unable to preside over the Strasbourg-based Parliament in recent weeks and was unable to attend the European Commission’s annual State of the Union event in September.

(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru and Neil Fullick in Singapore; edited by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Robert Birsel; translated by Flora Gómez)

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