Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty Images
ROME — The Vatican says Pope Francis has been taken to a Rome hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties.
Earlier the Vatican claimed the visit was for a previously scheduled check-up.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni's second statement said that hospital tests showed Francis is suffering from a respiratory infection, but they ruled out COVID.
Bruni said the pope will remain in the hospital for a few days.
The pope has diverticulitis, a condition that can infect or inflame the colon. He underwent surgery in 2021 to remove part of his colon.
Earlier this year he had said the condition had returned, but that he was not overly concerned.
Francis is due to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass this weekend, the start of numerous ceremonies, including Good Friday and culminating with Easter Sunday on April 9.
Francis visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in February. It was first papal visit since to the DRC since 1985, and the first by a pope since South Sudan gained independence in 2011.