Taipei, Aug. 22 (CNA) Catholic Cardinal Paul Shan, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006, died of multiple organ failure Wednesday evening at the age of 88, Cardinal Tien Hospital in New Taipei said.
Teng Shih-hsiung, superintendent of the hospital, said Shan was admitted to hospital Aug. 20 with pneumonia and took a sudden turn for the worse Wednesday evening. The cardinal passed away at 6:42 p.m., Teng said.
Shan's relatives, who live in China, spoke to him on the phone before he passed away and he was not in any pain at the time, Teng said.
President Ma Ying-jeou and Premier Sean Chen have extended condolences on Shan's passing, Teng said.
Chen paid tribute to the cardinal, saying he was a public role model, according to Cabinet spokesman Hu Wei-yu.
Ho Jih-sheng, a spokesman for the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, one of the largest charity organizations in Taiwan, described Shan as a brave man who dedicated his life to the care of others.
Though Shan has passed away, his humanitarian spirit still lives on, Ho said.
Dharma Drum Mountain Abbot Master Guo Dong said he would always remember Shan's spirit and contributions.
The Buddhist organization was scheduled to give Shan an award in September in recognition of his special contribution to promoting life education in Taiwan.
The Catholic Church in Taiwan and the Chinese Regional Bishops Conference will be responsible for organizing Shan's funeral and executing his will, according to Teng.
Shan, who was born in Dec. 2, 1923 in China, was the first Catholic cardinal to serve in Taiwan. He was appointed to the position by Pope John Paul II in 1998. Shan retired in 2006, the same year he was diagnosed with lung cancer and given four to six months to live.
In November 2007, he started going around the country, speaking about his religious faith and his battle with cancer. In May this year, Shan had cyberknife radiosurgery at Tri-Service General Hospital after it was found that the cancer had spread to his brain.
He was known as an educator and an advocate for peace. He served as chairman of Fu Jen Catholic University and was later named honorary chairman.
(By Chen Ching-fang and Jamie Wang)