Cardinal George Pell of Australia died Tuesday evening at the age of 81.

The cardinal underwent a hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, several sources told The Pillar, and reportedly died of complications from the surgery at approximately 8:50 p.m. in Rome.

The hip operation was initially deemed a success, with sources close to the cardinal saying that he had been able to make conversation with nurses in his recovery room, before he suddenly went into cardiac arrest shortly before he died.

Pell was appointed in 2014 the first prefect of the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy, charged with implementing a program of financial reform in the Vatican. He was before that the Archbishop of Sydney, and had been before that Archbishop of Melbourne.

Pell was in 2018 convicted in Australia of committing sexual abuse during his time in Melbourne, but the conviction was in 2020 overturned by the High Court of Australia, after the cardinal spent nearly two years in prison.

But even while he faced criticism, Pell was regarded by many as one of the 20th century’s central figures in Australian Catholicism. He was regarded as a defender of orthodox Catholic doctrine, and an articulate spokesman for the evangelical and social mission of the Church….

Full story at The Pillar.

Watch Cardinal Pell interview on Pope Benedict.