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Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II died Saturday night in his Vatican apartment, ending a long struggle with a series of debilitating illnesses. He was 84. The charismatic pontiff led the Roman Catholic Church for 26 years and is credited for helping topple communism in Europe.

Catholics around the world united in prayer and mourned his loss from St. Peter's Square to St. Mary's church in the Pope's birthplace of Wadowice, Poland. John Paul II was the first non-Italian to lead the world's 1 billion Catholics in more than 450 years.

No autopsy will be performed on the Pope's body and, according to Church rules, the Pope's mourning rites will last for 9 days. His body is likely to be laid to rest in the crypt underneath St. Peter's Basilica.

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