Pope Francis Plays Down His Health Issues as He's Discharged From Hospital

The head of Catholic Church jokingly assures public that he's 'still alive' after he was released from a hospital in Rome following a treatment for a respiratory infection.

AceShowbiz - Pope Francis quipped that he's "still alive" after being released from hospital. The 86-year-old pontiff was released from Rome's Gemeli Hospital on Saturday, April 1 after being admitted earlier this week for treatment for a respiratory infection.

While at the hospital, the pope hugged a couple whose daughter had passed away and signed a boy's cast before leaving on Saturday morning. "I wasn't frightened, I'm still alive," he told reporters.

The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will be at St Peter's Square for Palm Sunday mass that marks the start of Holy Week and will preside over the Easter celebrations.

The pontiff - who had part of one lung removed as a younger man - had complained of breathing difficulties before he was admitted to hospital for tests on Wednesday, March 29. A statement about his health said, "The tests showed a respiratory infection (COVID-19 infection excluded) that will require some days of medical therapy. Pope Francis is touched by the many messages received and expresses his gratitude for the closeness and prayers."

The pope has had other health issues and had part of his colon removed in 2021 due to diverculitis. He said earlier this year that the condition had returned and blamed it for his weight gain, although he was not overly alarmed.

Pope Francis has also been using a wheelchair for over a year due to strained knee ligaments and a small fracture but has been seen walking with a cane more frequently in recent times. The pope declined to have surgery on his knee because he didn't respond well to general anaesthetic when having his colon operation.

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