Pope Expresses Sympathy on Death of Dr. Carlo Urbani

CASTELPIANO, Italy, APRIL 3, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II sent a message of sympathy to the family of Italian doctor Carlo Urbani, who identified the virus behind severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

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Urbani died from this disease, which he contracted in Vietnam, while working for the World Health Organization.

He died Saturday in Bangkok, Thailand, after spending his life doing research on infections prevalent in poor countries, such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

In his message Wednesday, the Pope referred to Urbani as «an esteemed doctor who dedicated his life to relieve the pain of brothers.» The papal message was read during the funeral service held in Castelpiano, in the province of Ancona, the city of Urbani’s birth.

The funeral was presided over by Bishop Oscar Serfilippi of Jesi. He described Urbani over Vatican Radio as «a missionary of health.»

«The Lord gave Carlo many talents that he cultivated with humility but tenacity, and that, from his youth, he put at the service of his brothers,» he recalled.

The Italian Senate also honored the memory of Urbani, who worked for various humanitarian groups.

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