VATICAN CITY (April 2) - Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history's most-traveled pope, died Saturday in his Vatican apartment. He was 84.
"The angels welcome you," Vatican TV said after the announcement came from papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
"The Holy Father, John Paul II, died at 9:37 p.m. (1937GMT) in his private apartment. All procedures foreseen in the Apostolic Constitution 'Universi Dominici Gregis,' promulgated by John Paul II on Feb. 22, 1996, have been activated," his statement said
John Paul's funeral will be held within four to six days. The Vatican has declined to say whether he left instructions for his funeral or burial. Most popes in recent centuries have asked to be buried in the crypts below St. Peter's Basilica, but some have suggested the first Polish-born pope might have chosen to be laid to rest in his native country.
MSNBC staff and news service reports
Updated: 8:09 a.m. ET April 3, 2005
DEATH CERTIFICATE | 8:06 a.m. ET
In a statement, the Vatican says that John Paul died of septic shock and cardio-circulatory collapse.
The official death certificate lists the ailments the 84-year-old pope suffered from, including acknowledging officially for the first time that John Paul had Parkinson's disease.
Separately, Italian media report that the pope's last word was "Amen."http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7357164/