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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 September 2005, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
John Paul's last words revealed
The late Pope John Paul II
John Paul II had suffered from Parkinson's disease for many years
Pope John Paul II's last words before his death were "let me go to the house of the Father", according to documents released by the Vatican.

His words were spoken in his native Polish to aides hours before he died last April.

They are preserved in a new 220-page volume which chronicles the last two months of the late pontiff's life.

It is the first time the Vatican has published such a detailed account of any pope's final moments.

Parkinson's

Correspondents say the report is an unprecedented move, as the death of a pope has always been surrounded by secrecy.

The book is to go on sale shortly as a supplement to the Vatican's official journal, Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

It has entries in chronological order, starting in 31 January, the day the Holy See announced the pope's audiences were being suspended due to illness.

One entry on 24 February, says John Paul's convalescence was hampered by "very difficult swallowing", speech difficulties and "nutritional deficit and marked weakness".

Doctors have said some of those symptoms were consequences of the progression of Parkinson's disease, which the 84-year-old pontiff suffered from for years.

In the days leading up to his death, another entry describes the pope feeling a "sudden chill and violent shaking" during Mass. His temperature quickly rose to nearly 40C.

According to the Vatican account, the pope uttered his final words at 1530 on 2 April. "A little before 7pm, he went into a coma," it said.

"According to a Polish tradition, a small, lit candle illuminated the twilight of the room, where the Pope was expiring."

The Vatican announced John Paul's time of death as 2137.


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