WASHINGTON (AP) — European Parliament President David Sassoli has died at a hospital in Italy, his spokesman said in a tweet Tuesday.
No details were offered in the tweet by spokesman Roberto Cuillo beyond Sassoli's death at 1:15 a.m. Tuesday in Aviano, a city in northeastern Italy.
Sassoli had been hospitalized since Dec. 26 due to 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," Cuillo's statement said.
Sassoli, 65, was first elected at the European Parliament in 2009. He won another term in 2014 and served as the Parliament’s vice president. He had decided not to run for reelection when lawmakers vote to appoint their new president later this month.
The European Parliament, headquartered in in Strasbourg, France, represents the 450 million citizens of the European Union and refers to 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 nations.