Sad news from Washington, D.C. Archbishop Sambi was the Vatican's ambassador to the United States and a friend of the magazine:

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal ambassador to the United States since 2005, died Wednesday night apparently from complications related to lung surgery, according to Vatican Radio and Catholic News Service. He was 73.

Sambi, who was based in Washington and had a long diplomatic career in the church, had been put on ventilation following lung surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore two weeks ago.

As apostolic nuncio for the United States, Sambi served dual roles as a leader in the church and a representative to the government. During Pope Benedict’s 2008 trip to the United States, Sambi accompanied the pontiff and hosted him in Washington, where Benedict met with five victims of clergy sex abuse, according to Catholic News Service.

Catholic News Service described Sambi as “an energetic and gregarious man with an ability to bring the human touch to diplomatic challenges.”

NCR has a statement from Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

Update: Editor-in-Chief Drew Christiansen offers a reflection on the archbishop's legacy.

Tim Reidy