(Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis was hospitalized with a pulmonary infection after having difficulty breathing and will remain in treatment for several days, the Vatican said.

Francis, 86, was taken to the hospital for tests that “showed a respiratory infection (Covid 19 infection excluded) which will require some days of appropriate medical therapy,” the Vatican said in a statement late Wednesday.

The pope had part of one lung removed in his youth due to an infection. He was well enough earlier in the day to appear at his regularly scheduled audience.

Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Francis has been the spiritual leader of the world’s roughly 1.3 billion Catholics since his predecessor’s abdication in 2013. He is the first pope from the Americas, the first non-European to hold the post since Gregory III in the 8th century and the first Jesuit to hold the position. 

Despite his age, Francis has continued to participate in church functions and speak out on issues ranging from geopolitics to social inequality. He was scheduled to celebrate Palm Sunday over the weekend and a series of Holy Week observances in the days leading up to Easter, on April 9.

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