Pope Francis has lost two great nephews and their mother in a traffic accident in Argentina, say police.
According to a Sky News report, the accident took place in the early hours of the morning on the Rosario-Córdoba highway in the district of Cordoba, 550km (340 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires, said police commissioner Carina Ferreyra.
The Pope’s nephew, Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio, was reportedly driving a vehicle with his wife Valeria Carmona, 36, and their two children, Jose agd 8 months and 2-year-old Antonio.
Mr Bergoglio, who is the son of Alberto, the Pope’s late brother, has been hospitalised and is in a serious condition.
Early reports suggest the vehicle they were travelling in hit a truck in front of them.
The family were reportedly returning to Buenos Aires following a holiday weekend.
Vatican spokesman the Rev Federico Lombardi said “The Pope was informed about the tragic accident. He is deeply pained,” adding Pope Francis had asked “all who share in his grief to unite with him in prayer.”
Earlier today, Pope Francis touched on the subject of his own death for the first time, telling reporters he gave himself “two or three years” to live.
On a flight back to the Vatican from South Korea, the 77-year-old pontiff said: “I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud.
“Because I know it will last only a short time. Two or three years and then I’ll be off to the Father’s House.”