Pope Francis left hospital on Friday after undergoing a hernia operation and headed to the Vatican, where his health will be under increasing scrutiny ahead of a busy summer.
A smiling Francis left the Gemelli hospital in Rome at 8:45 am (0645 GMT) in a wheelchair, thanking the crowd of well-wishers outside.
The 86-year-old has suffered a series of health issues since his election in 2013, from hip problems, knee pain and weight gain to an inflamed colon and respiratory infection.
The Argentinian underwent a three-hour operation under general anaesthetic on June 7 to remove a painful hernia on the site of a scar from a previous surgery. It was his third stay in hospital since 2021.
Doctors said he was cheerful on waking after last week’s operation, cracking jokes with the medical team, and the hospital has published regular updates since then detailing his steady recovery.
The Vatican cancelled papal audiences until June 18 to give the pontiff time to recover. But Francis was quick to start working again from his suite in Rome’s Gemelli hospital, which is the favoured choice of pontiffs to the point of being dubbed “Vatican III” by John Paul II. Read more