David Sassoli († 65) died early Tuesday morning in the municipality of Aviano in the north-eastern Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. A day before, a spokesman for the EU Parliament in Brussels had announced that Sassoli was being treated in a hospital in his home country, Italy. The stay had become necessary “because of a serious complication due to a dysfunction of the immune system”.
Specifically: Sassoli suffered from Legionnaires’ disease – a disease of the respiratory tract. It is caused by inhaling aerosols that contain the Legionella bacterium. This can mainly develop in warm, standing water. The infection can then lead to fatal pneumonia.
“I had a high fever and had to go to the hospital”
Legionella spreads through fumes that often come from air conditioning in large buildings. Most at risk are adults over the age of 50 and people with weak immune systems, chronic lung diseases, or heavy tobacco use.
In a video on Twitter, Sassoli explains that he caught Legionella during a parliamentary session in September: “I had a high fever and had to go to the hospital in Strasbourg,” he says. He then went to Italy to recover, but suffered a relapse.
“The doctors are now doing tests and examinations to ensure that I can return to the office of president as soon as possible,” said Sassoli. He closes the video with the words: “I greet you all and I look forward to seeing you again soon in Parliament.” At the end of December, however, Sassoli had to be hospitalized again. All of his appointments have been canceled. Now he has died as a result of the disease.
EU Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans (60) expressed his condolences to the family on Twitter: “His warmth was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. My deepest condolences go to his family and loved ones, ”wrote Timmermans on Tuesday morning. “I’m lost for words.” (gin)