ROME — Archbishop Aldo Giordano, appointed earlier this year as apostolic nuncio to the European Union, died Dec. 2 in Leuven, Belgium, where he had been hospitalized for COVID-19.

According to Vatican News, the 67-year-old Italian prelate’s condition had worsened in the past several weeks, and he was being treated in the intensive care unit.

Giordano served for eight years as nuncio to Venezuela and, in a statement, the Venezuelan bishops’ conference mourned his death and called him a “close and fraternal” servant of the church.

The bishops said Giordano had battled COVID-19 since the first week of October.

Prior to falling ill, the archbishop was among those who concelebrated Pope Francis’ final Mass at the Basilica of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Sastin, Slovakia, Sept. 15.

Several prelates, including Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, were diagnosed with COVID-19 after attending the Mass.

The Venezuelan bishops’ conference remembered Archbishop Giordano as a man who saw himself as “one of the people.”

“On many occasions, he would say as an anecdote that, before arriving in Venezuela, he asked Pope Francis what ‘should he pack in his suitcase’ for his work,” the bishops’ recalled.

“And he shared that the pope’s answer was ‘to pack a lot of good humor and joy in your suitcase,’ to which he replied that he would be obedient and he did so.”

Born in Cuneo, Italy, he served as the Vatican’s permanent observer to the Council of Europe. In 2013, Pope Francis appointed Archbishop Giordano to succeed then-Archbishop Pietro Parolin as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela.

In May, the pope appointed him to serve as apostolic nuncio to the European Union.

The Diocese of Cuneo announced Dec. 2 that his funeral would be held in his hometown. However, the diocese said there was no precise information on when it would be held.