- euthanasia - Italy - Vatican
AFP - Eluana Englaro, the woman at the centre of a right-to-die drama that has gripped Italy, died on Monday, the health minister announced on Italian television.
Maurizio Sacconi made the announcement to senators holding an emergency session to consider a bill aimed at saving 38-year-old Englaro's life.
Doctors in Udine, northeast Italy, stopped feeding Englaro on Friday amid a flurry of efforts to stop the mercy killing, with conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accused of politicising the affair.
The Vatican reacted swiftly to the news, imploring God to "forgive" those responsible for Englaro's death.
"May the Lord welcome her and forgive those who led her there (to her death)," the Vatican's "health minister" Javier Lozano Barragan told the ANSA news agency.
Englaro's family won a lengthy court battle in November to allow her to die.
President Giorgio Napolitano refused to sign an emergency cabinet decree on Friday that would prevent doctors from withholding food from Englaro, who has been in a coma for 17 years.