David Sassoli, European Parliament President has died, aged 65. Leading EU figures paid tribute to the Italian who died due to a serious complication with his immune system.
Leading EU figures paid tributes to European Parliament President David Sassoli, who has died at the age of 65.
Mr Sassoli was admitted to hospital in Italy last month due to a serious complication with his immune system. A former journalist and centre-left politician, he was seriously ill for more than two weeks and cancelled all official activities.
As European Parliament President, Sassoli was responsible for overseeing the parliament’s activities.
Flags at half-mast
EU flags in Brussels are flying at half-mast in his memory. Tributes have come in from leaders and officials around Europe.
Reflecting Sassoli’s preference for his own language, many of the tributes were in Italian. EU President, Ursula von der Leyen, said, “I’m deeply saddened by the death of a great European and Italian. David Sassoli was a passionate journalist, an extraordinary EU parliament president and above all a dear friend.”
“Our union loses an Italian patriot, a great European and an indefatigable humanist,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.
The German leader, Olaf Scholz, said that Europe “has lost a committed parliament president, Italy a savvy politician and Germany a good friend”.
Members of the European Parliament gathered on the building’s steps in Brussels for a minute’s silence in his memory.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi called him a “profound European, a passionate journalist” and “a symbol of balance, humanity and generosity.” In his native Florence, the town hall’s flag is at half-mast. His body will lie in state on Thursday in Rome.
David Sassoli left a three-decade career in journalism and became a member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 2009. He was a member of the centre-left Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second-biggest grouping in the parliament.