Church officials tried to prepare the faithful for the close of one of the longest papal reigns in history after the Vatican said the long-ailing Pope had declined further hospital treatment.
"The general conditions and cardio-respiratory conditions of the Holy Father have further worsened," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls. "A gradual worsening of arterial hypotension has been noted, and breathing has become shallow. The clinical picture indicates cardio-circulatory and renal insufficiency. The biological parameters are notably compromised."
Read more: Pope's Health Has Deteriorated Further: Vatican