Former Pope Benedict XVI died at the age of 95 at his Vatican residence, nearly a decade after stepping down due to ill health.
He led the Catholic Church for less than eight years before becoming the first Pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415 in 2013.
Benedict spent his final years in the Vatican at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery.
Pope Francis, his successor, stated that he frequently visited him there.
“With sorrow, I inform you that the Pope Emeritus, Benedict XVI, passed away today at 9:34 in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican,” the Vatican said in a statement.
“We will provide additional information as soon as possible.”
Although the former pontiff had been ill for some time, the Holy See stated that his condition had worsened due to his age.
Pope Francis asked his final audience of the year at the Vatican on Wednesday to “pray a special prayer for Pope Emeritus Benedict,” who he said was very ill.
Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger in Germany, was 78 when he became one of the oldest popes ever elected in 2005.
For much of his pontificate, the Catholic Church was confronted with allegations, legal claims, and official reports regarding decades of child abuse by priests.
Earlier this year, the former Pope admitted that mistakes were made in the handling of abuse cases while he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.