European Parliament President David Sassoli, an Italian socialist and former journalist, died early Tuesday in an Italian hospital. He was 65 years old at the time.
He had been president of the 705-seat house since July of this year, and his term in the largely ceremonial job was set to expire this month. Roberta Metsola, a member of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) from Malta, is widely likely to succeed him.
“Balance, humanity, and charity were all symbols of Sassoli. All of his colleagues, from every political party and every European country, have always recognised these traits in him “Mario Draghi, the Italian Prime Minister, acknowledged as much.
The coronavirus crisis dominated his time as president of the EU assembly, and he is credited with introducing a remote voting method that allowed the parliament to continue to function even as much of Europe was shut down.
Sassoli was admitted to the hospital in December after contracting legionella pneumonia and experiencing immune system issues.
He died in a cancer centre in the northern town of Aviano, 10 years after receiving a bone marrow transplant.
As admiration for Sassoli flowed in from all sides of the political spectrum, flags at EU institutions were lowered to half mast.
Ursula van der Leyen, the European Commission President who, although being from opposing political groups, was able to gain Sassoli’s support within the EU parliament, stated she had lost a beloved friend.