On Friday a State funeral was held in Rome for European Parliament President David Sassoli.
The State funeral was held at Rome’s Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri Church.
The Florence-born journalist-turned-politician died at the age of 65 on Tuesday after being hospitalized on December 26 with serious complications related to an immune-system dysfunction.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Premier Mario Draghi and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez were among the officials attending the funeral.
Sassoli’s coffin was carried into the church draped in the flag of the EU.
A political science graduate from Rome University, Sassoli worked for several newspapers before joining RAI in 1992.
He worked his way up the State broadcaster and became a news reader for its flagship TG1 news show.
He entered the political fray in 2009, getting elected as an MEP for the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
He was elected president of the European Parliament in 2019
Italian politicians joined ordinary citizens to pay their respects to European Parliament President David Sassoli, who died this week and whose coffin was placed in Rome’s town hall ahead of a state funeral on Friday.
Hundreds of people queued patiently on a brisk winter’s day to enter the hall where Sassoli’s wooden coffin was laid out, surrounded by floral wreaths.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi were among the first to pay homage to Sassoli, who died in a cancer clinic in north-eastern on Italy on Tuesday aged 65.
“I am here because David Sassoli represents good politics, the human face of Europe,” said Rome resident Donatina Persichetti. “He was one of us and that is why we loved him and why his death hurts us so much.”
Sassoli spent weeks in hospital after contracting pneumonia last September and had to return to hospital in December after suffering complications related to his immune system.
He had been president of the 705-seat EU parliament since July 2019 and his term in the predominantly ceremonial role had been due to end this month.
His funeral will be held on Friday at Rome’s Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and of the Martyrs. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel are both expected to attend the service.
Photo – The coffin of late president of the European Parliament David Sassoli, accompanied by six carabinieri in ceremonial uniform, is carried inside the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, during the State funeral in Rome, Italy, 14 January 2022. EPA-EFE/ALESSANDRO DI MEO