A Latter-day Saint mission president serving in Bolivia died Tuesday after battling COVID-19 for nearly two months, a church spokesperson said.
President José Maria Batalla, 60, who is from Nordelta, Argentina, died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said Sam Penrod, a spokesperson for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Batalla had been the president of the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission since July 2020. He was serving there with his wife, Valeria, with whom he had four children.
“We express our love and condolences to President Batalla’s family, along with the missionaries he led in the Bolivia Cochabamba Mission,” Penrod said. “We pray that all will feel the Savior’s love as they honor and remember this faithful leader and his devotion to the church.”
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of other church leaders and missionaries.
In September 2020, the president of the church’s Birmingham Alabama Temple died after fighting COVID-19. In April 2020, a senior missionary from Utah died of COVID-19 complications while serving with his wife in the Michigan Detroit Mission.
President Batalla is the second president of one of the church’s 399 missions to die in office this year. The other passed away in March after an apparent heart attack while serving in his home country of the Philippines.