Pope Francis was hospitalized in Rome Wednesday to receive treatment for a respiratory infection, according to The New York Times.
The Catholic leader is expected to remain in the hospital for the next several days, although his blood oxygen level is reportedly “fine.” He has tested negative for COVID-19.
“Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayer,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a Wednesday statement.
This week’s hospital stay is the latest in a long line of medical issues for the pope, who is 86.
In his youth, he had part of one lung removed after a bout with pneumonia and, much more recently, he’s struggled with “knee problems and sciatica,” The New York Times reported.
In 2021, he had part of his long intestine removed due to inflammation, the article said.
Because of persistent knee and back pain, Pope Francis often uses either a cane or wheelchair to get around. But he has said that he feels “normal” for his age.
“I’m in good health. For my age, I’m normal,” the pope told The Associated Press earlier this year.
It is not yet clear when Pope Francis will be released from Policlinico A. Gemelli, a hospital in Rome. The Catholic Church, like most Christian churches, has a busy period ahead, with Easter less than two weeks away.