JAKARTADAILY.ID - David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament, died on Tuesday at the age of 65 in an Italian hospital, according to his spokesperson.
Reuters reported Monday (January 11, 2022) that Sassoli caught legionella pneumonia in September and had to go back to the hospital in December because of immune system issues.
He received a bone marrow transplant ten years ago and died in a cancer facility in the northern town of Aviano, leaving behind a wife and two children.
The former socialist and journalist had served as president of the 705-seat house since July 2019, and his term was due to end this month. Roberta Metsola, a Maltese lawmaker from the conservative European People's Party (EPP), is said to take over the role.
The coronavirus crisis overshadowed his term in office of the EU assembly, and he was praised for establishing a remote voting mechanism that enabled the parliament to remain operational even while much of Europe was forced into continuous lockdowns.
He began his career as a newspaper journalist before moving on to the Italian national broadcaster RAI, where he became a national figure while covering the major evening news.
In 2009, he entered politics, joining the center-left Democratic Party, and was successfully elected to the European Parliament. Following a botched attempt for mayor of Rome, he shifted his focus to European politics.
Flags at EU institutions were flown half-mast as a tribute for Sassoli came from all political sides.
Ursula van der Leyen, President of the European Commission and a conservative who gained Sassoli's support in the EU parliament despite coming from opposing sides, said she had lost a close friend.