The Vatican says Pope Francis has been hospitalized with a lung infection and "will require some days of medical therapy." The 86-year-old was taken a Rome hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties in recent days, the BBC reports. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement Wednesday that tests at the Gemelli hospital found that Francis has a respiratory infection but COVID-19 has been ruled out, reports the AP. The pope appeared in good health during his weekly general audience at the Vatican earlier in the day.
Francis had part of one lung removed due to an infection when he was a young man, the AP notes. This is the first time he has been hospitalized since he had part of his colon removed in 2021, and it's unclear whether he will be able to recover before the start of Easter events, the church's busiest time of the year. "Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer," the Vatican statement said, per Reuters. (Read more Pope Francis stories.)