PRISTINA, Kosovo-The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Kosovo died of a heart attack Wednesday, a church official said.
Bishop Mark Sopi, 68, died at a hospital in Kosovo's capital at 3:00 p.m., senior church official Don Shan Zefi said.
Kosovo's president and prime minister expressed their condolences.
"The people of Kosovo will miss Bishop Sopi," Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi said in a statement. "His contribution was multifaceted and this makes the loss even greater."
"We highly value his contribution for Kosovo," said Muhamet Hamiti, a spokesman for Kosovo's president.
Sopi was appointed Kosovo's bishop in 1996 after the then serving Bishop Mark Prela had died. The seat of the Catholic Church is based in the southern city of
He was very close to Kosovo's ailing President Ibrahim Rugova, who is suffering from lung cancer.
Last year Bishop Sopi was condemned by
"The Birth of Christ can be compared to the birth of new reality in Kosovo.”