Cardinal George Pell, whose conviction on child abuse charges shocked the Catholic Church before it was overturned, died at the age of 81.
The former Vatican treasurer is Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic cleric and the highest-ranking Church official ever imprisoned for such crimes.
According to Church officials, he died of heart complications following hip surgery.
Cardinal Pell was Archbishop of Melbourne and Sydney before becoming one of the Pope’s closest advisers.
In 2014, he was summoned to Rome to clean up the Vatican’s finances, and he was frequently referred to as the Church’s third-ranking official.
However, the cleric resigned in 2017 and returned to Australia to face child sex abuse charges.
In 2018, a jury found him guilty of sexually abusing two boys while serving as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s.
Cardinal Pell, who always maintained his innocence, was imprisoned for 13 months before the High Court of Australia overturned the verdict in 2020.
However, a civil lawsuit filed by the father of a choirboy allegedly abused by Cardinal Pell is still ongoing.