VATICAN CITY – Spanish Cardinal Agustin Garcia Gasco, the retired archbishop of Valencia, died on Sunday in Rome after suffering a heart attack, Juan Cotino, third vice president for the autonomous government of Valencia, confirmed.
Garcia Gasco, 80, was in Rome to attend the Sunday beatification of the late Pope John Paul II.
The cardinal felt ill a few minutes before the beatification ceremony began and was taken to the San Carlos de Nancy Hospital, near the Vatican, where he died.
Agustin Garcia Gasco Vicente was born in Corral de Almaguer, Toledo, on Feb. 12, 1931.
Graduating with a theology degree from the Universidad de Comillas, he was ordained a priest on May 26, 1956. In 1985, he was named the bishop of Nona and auxiliary bishop of the Madrid-Alcala Archdiocese.
On July 24, 1992, he was named archbishop of Valencia, where he remained despite in early 2006 presenting his resignation, as is normal Church procedure upon turning 75 on Feb. 12.
In July 2006, he received Pope Benedict XVI in Valencia on the latter’s first trip to Spain to preside at the 5th World Meeting of Families.
On Nov. 24, 2007, Garcia-Gasco was named a cardinal by Pope Benedict.
Garcia-Gasco was one of the most combative bishops regarding the policies of the socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, above all everything connected to certain laws dealing with same-sex marriage, the Organic Education Law and the so-called “express divorce law,” among others.