© Reuters. PHOTOS: European Parliament President David Sassoli participates in a European Parliament meeting in Strasbourg, France, November 24, 2021. Julien Warnand / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo
BRUSSELS / ROME (Reuters) – The President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, an Italian journalist and journalist, died Tuesday in a hospital in Italy, a spokesman for his office said. He was 65 years old.
Sassoli died 1.15 am (0015 GMT), his spokesman Roberto Cuillo said on Twitter (NYSE :).
Sassoli was hospitalized last month with a “serious” immune problem, his office said https://reut.rs/3K15gyq on Monday.
He has been president of the 705-seat parliamentary seat since July 2019. Sassoli, whose term of office was due to end this month, has also said he will not run in the by-elections.
Malta lawmaker Roberta Metsola, from the European People’s Party (EPP), is expected to run for office.
European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, head of the European Union, paid tribute to Sassoli, saying he was “deeply saddened” by his death.
“David Sassoli was a sympathetic journalist, the best President of the European Parliament and, first and foremost, a close friend,” he said on Twitter.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also sent a message of condolence.
“It is sad to hear of the death of EP_President David Sassoli, a strong voice of democracy and the NATO-EU alliance,” he said in a tweet.
Italian politicians in many cases paid tribute to Sassoli, and his death led to morning news. Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Sassoli’s death was “extraordinary” and praised him for being “kind to Europeans.”
“Sassoli was a symbol of organization, humanity and generosity. These qualities have been recognized by all his colleagues, from all political persuasions and from all over Europe,” Draghi’s office said in a statement.
Former Prime Minister Enrico Letta, who heads the Democratic Party, described Sassoli as “a surprisingly generous, European-savvy man … a man of vision and ideology”.
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In his opening remarks, Sassoli called on Europeans to tackle the “deadly virus” and called for a change in EU migration laws and political security.
Due to illness, he was unable to chair the parliament in Strasbourg in recent weeks and missed the European Commission’s annual meeting in September.
Sassoli began his career as a newspaper journalist before joining the Italian journalist RAI, where he became a well-known name in evening broadcasts.
He completely changed politics in 2009, joined the left wing of the Democratic Party and easily won elections in the European Parliament.
After failing to become mayor of Rome, he focused on European politics, preparing to become President of the EU Parliament in 2019.
He contracted pneumonia in September 2021, forcing him to stay in hospital for several weeks. He did not regain his strength and returned to the hospital in December after suffering a severe stroke.