“David Sassoli passed away at 1.15am on 11 January at the CRO in Aviano, Italy, where he was hospitalized. The date and place of the funeral will be communicated in the next few hours,” said Roberto Cuillo, Sassoli’s spokesperson, on Twitter.
Sassoli, a 65-year-old Italian social democrat, had been hospitalised since 26 December due to serious complications from an immune system dysfunction.
A former journalist and TV presenter in Italy, David Sassoli turned to politics in 2009 when he became an MEP. Re-elected in 2014, he became a member of the transport and tourism committee. After another re-election in May 2019, he was elected president of the European Parliament in July 2019.
His mandate, marked by the pandemic, was set to end at the end of the month, and the election to succeed him is scheduled for 18 January. Sassoli’s team mid-December had said he would not stand for election again.
Several MEPs have already expressed their sadness following the announcement of Sassoli's death. Luxembourg MEPs Charles Goerens and Christophe Hansen shared their condolences on Twitter.
Nicolas Schmit, Luxembourg’s EU commissioner, also on Twitter, praised Sassoli as a defender of of “our rights and of our values”, saying he had always sought democratic debate on the future of Europe, “never forgetting that without the support of the citizens, the European Union can only become weaker.”
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.