VATICAN CITY — Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican diplomat and expert in interfaith relations who announced the election of Pope Francis to the world in 2013 with the famous phrase "habemus papam (we have a pope)," has died.
The Vatican said Tauran died Thursday at age 75. He had been in the United States, seeking treatment for Parkinson's disease, from which he suffered for years but kept on with his globe-trotting diplomacy to improve the Vatican's relations with the Muslim world in spite of his disease.
In an unusually personal message of condolences sent to Tauran's sister on Friday, Francis praised the cardinal's "courageous" years of service to the Catholic Church "despite the weight of illness."
Francis said the French-born Tauran was a "counselor who was listened to and appreciated," particularly in the Muslim world.
Tauran, who was born in Bordeaux, served in various Vatican embassies before being named chief Vatican archivist and then prefect of the Vatican office of interfaith relations.
As 'protodeacon' of the College of Cardinals, Tauran emerged on the loggia of St. Peter's Basilica on the rainy night of March 13, 2013, to announce the election of Francis.
Francis later appointed him camerlengo, the symbolically important official who runs the Vatican during the period between the death or resignation of one pope and the election of another.
In his note of condolences, Francis said he had named Tauran to the position "because of his service to and love for the church."