Cardinal George Pell has died in Rome at the age of 81.
Church sources say Cardinal Pell died of cardiac arrest following complications during hip surgery this evening. He had attended the funeral of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Thursday, 5 January.
Cardinal Pell was Australia's highest ranking Catholic cleric. He served as both archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney before being made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He was in charge of the Vatican's finances from 2014 to 2019.
His last years were overshadowed by claims by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse that he had not taken adequate steps to deal with clergy who had abused children. He always disputed these accusations.
He was sent to prison in Australia for child sexual abuse in 2019. He always proclaimed his innocence. One year later his conviction was quashed. Since then he returned to the Vatican. In recent years he has suffered a number of health problems.
Father Joseph Hamilton from the Archdiocese of Sidney said they would be issuing a full statement shortly.
Update report from Vatican News: www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2023-01/cardinal-george-pell-dies-in-rome.html
* London: There will be a Requiem Mass for Cardinal Pell at St Patrick's, Soho this evening, 11 January, at 6pm.