Pope Francis : Vatican responds to report claiming pontiff has a small brain tumour

Newspaper says denial is 'expected' and defends its report

Heather Saul
Wednesday 21 October 2015 09:39 BST
Pope Francis
Pope Francis (Getty)

The Vatican has denied reports in Italian media that Pope Francis has been diagnosed with a brain tumour.

A report in the Italian National Daily newspaper suggested the pontiff had a small, curable brain tumour that could be treated without surgery. The report claimed the tumour was discovered “months ago” but a Vatican spokesman dismissed the claims as “unfounded, seriously irresponsible and not worthy of attention“.

Rev Federico Lombardi said in a statement: “As all can see, the Pope continues to exercise his intense activity without interruption and in an absolutely normal way.”

The newspaper's editor, Andrea Cangini, said the denial was “understandable and expected” but stood by its story. He claimed other newspapers were aware of the diagnosis but decided against reporting it.

There were fears for the 78-year-old’s health in June last year when he cancelled two days of engagements because of an unspecified illness. It is well known that he suffers with sciatica, but he is otherwise thought to be in good health.

Additional reporting by agencies

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