President of the European Parliament David Sassoli dies at the age of 65 – the Journal

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David Sassoli, the Italian journalist who rose through the ranks in politics and became president of the European Union parliament, has died in hospital in Italy

BRUSSELS (AP) – David Sassoli, the Italian journalist who rose through the ranks in politics and became president of the European Union parliament, died Tuesday morning in an Italian hospital, his spokesperson said.

No details were provided in a tweet from spokesperson Roberto Cuillo. Sassoli, a socialist, had been hospitalized since December 26 due to an abnormal functioning of his immune system, Cuillo said in a statement released the day before Sassoli’s death.

“This hospitalization was necessary because of a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system”, specifies the press release.

Sassoli had struggled for months with ill health while staying at work, where his vigor and easy smile were a hallmark.

Sassoli came to the head of the legislature in 2019 following a complex political struggle between EU leaders which also saw German Christian Democrat Ursula von der Leyen become president of the European Commission and Belgian liberal Charles Michel take the post of President of the Council of the EU.

“I am deeply saddened by the terrible loss of a great European and proud Italian,” von der Leyen said on Twitter. “David Sassoli was a compassionate journalist, an outstanding President of the European Parliament and, above all, a dear friend.”

Sassoli, 65, was first elected to the European Parliament in 2009. He won another term in 2014 and served as its vice-president.

He had planned to run for the second part of the five-year term that begins next week, but decided not to stand for election when lawmakers chose their new president in Strasbourg, France.

The European Parliament represents the 450 million citizens of the European Union and defines itself as “the heart of European democracy”. It is one of the seven branches of the EU and has more than 700 members directly elected by its member countries.

Sassoli had strong convictions, especially on social issues like migration.

European Parliament President David Sassoli speaks before a signing ceremony for the EU’s legislative priorities for 2022 on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels on December 16, 2021. The President of the Parliament’s spokesperson European David Sassoli said the Italian had been hospitalized due to abnormal functioning of his immune system. He said the 65-year-old Italian had been hospitalized in Italy since December 26. (AP Photo / Geert Vanden Wijngaert, Pool)

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