November 15, 2013 / 1:37 PM / 5 years ago

Pope Francis cancels audiences due to illness

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis canceled several audiences on Friday due to flu, the first time his health has affected his role as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.

Pope Francis conducts his weekly general audience at St. Peter's Square at the Vatican November 13, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

The 76-year-old’s wellbeing is under close scrutiny because of the shock February resignation of his predecessor Benedict, who said his health was declining and a stronger man could do the job better.

A Vatican spokesman said Francis had canceled several meetings with cardinals and bishops on Friday morning, but would still take part in the ordination of a bishop in the afternoon.

“There is no reason for worry,” Father Federico Lombardi said.

Reporting by Naomi O'Leary; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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