David Sassoli, the Italian president of the European Parliament, died early on Tuesday from the effects of an immune complication. Sassoli, 65, had been under treatment since late December for a "serious complication resulting from immune system dysfunction," a statement released Monday said.
The Italian Social Democrat was elected in 2019 to lead the European Parliament as part of a deal with the Christian Democrats who held the presidency of the European Commission with Ursula von der Leyen.
The intention was that the European Parliament would vote on the election of a new president next week, halfway through the president's term. The Christian Democrats have put forward Roberta Metsola from Malta as a candidate for Sassoli.
It is not yet clear whether that vote will continue next week. It is also unknown whether the prepared agenda will be completed according to schedule, or whether the protocol prescribes otherwise.
Sassoli was a former journalist and with ten years of experience as a member of the European Parliament, a former member of the EU parliament. “David Sassoli was a passionate journalist, an extraordinary President of the European Parliament and above all a dear friend,” Commission President von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.
During his parliamentary term, Sassoli led the European railway reform and the Single European Sky as a member of the Committee on Transport and Tourism.
Speaking to EU leaders last month, Sassoli said Europe needs above all "a new project of hope", through innovation in all areas, protecting Europeans and its democratic model.