Former Detroit Archbishop Cardinal Edmund Szoka has died at 86

(WXYZ) - The Archdiocese of Detroit says former Detroit Archbishop, Cardinal Edmund Szoka has died at the age of 86.

The Archdiocese says Cardinal Szoka died at Providence Park Hospital in Novi last night.

Szoka served as Archbishop of Detroit from 1981 until 1990, when he was brought to the Vatican to oversee the city state's government under Pope John Paul II. He continued to serve in that capacity under Pope Benedict XVI.

"We mourn the loss of a dedicated shepherd," said current Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron in a news release. Vigneron had served as a priest under Cardinal Szoka in the 1980s. "For sixty years Cardinal Szoka gave himself totally to his priestly service of Christ and his Church. He has gone home to the Heavenly Father with our prayers. May the Lord give him the reward of his labors."

Szoka has lived in Northville since he retired in 2006.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Szoka was born on September 14, 1927 in Grand Rapids. He was ordained 60 years ago, on June 5, 1954 and his first church posting was in Marquette. He then established the Diocese of Gaylord, before being installed as the Archbishop of Detroit by Pope John Paul II.

Szoka was elevated to Cardinal in 1988.

He would eventually serve as President of the Governatorate of Vatican City and President of the Vatican City State before retiring a day after his 79th birthday in 2006.

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