The former Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti has died at the age of 88. 

Archbishop Emeritus Conti passed away at the city’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital after a short illness, the Archdiocese of Glasgow said. 

A statement said: "It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Archbishop Mario Conti, Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow. 

“Archbishop Mario died peacefully tonight, November 8, after a short illness at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. 

"He was 88 years old. He had been a priest for 64 years and a bishop for 45 years." 

He was named as successor to Cardinal Tom Winning as Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002, serving the city’s Catholic congregation for ten years.  

Archbishop William Nolan, the current holder of the post, paid tribute to his predecessor, saying: “The death of Archbishop Mario will be felt not just in the Archdiocese of Glasgow, but across Scotland and beyond.   

“He was a much-loved figure, a man of great energy and pastoral zeal, who loved the Church and loved the people in his care. 

“When I was appointed Archbishop earlier this year I found him both gracious and welcoming and full of ideas and suggestions for the future”. 

Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney also paid tribute to Archbishop Conti, saying: "It is sad news that Archbishop Emeritus of Glasgow, Mario Conti has died tonight.

"He was a kind man and a great servant to the Catholic community across Greater Glasgow. His finest legacy will be in the beautiful restoration of Glasgow Metropolitan Cathedral."

Bishop Hugh Gilbert, Bishop of Aberdeen and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said: “It was with great sadness that we learned today of the death of Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti.

"His presence as a bishop has been a constant for so long, it is difficult to remember a time when he wasn’t an active or retired member of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland.

"As the current Bishop of Aberdeen I have many fond memories of him during his 25 years as Bishop of Aberdeen. Although he became Archbishop of Glasgow in 2002 his ties to the North East of Scotland remained strong."

READ MORE: Glasgow Archbishop Mario Conti seriously ill in hospital

He added: "His interest in and knowledge of Scotland’s Catholic history was well known and his commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of the church was unwavering.

The Herald:

Archbishop Conti was the ninth Archbishop of Glasgow, and among the longest serving in the UK. 

He trained at St Mary’s College, Blairs, Aberdeenshire, before studying at the Scots College and Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome where he obtained degrees in philosophy and theology and was ordained a priest in Rome on October 26, 1958.

After a series of roles, including his only Parish Priest appointment to Wick and Thurso – Scotland’s most northerly mainland Catholic parishes – he was named bishop of Aberdeen in February 1977.

He was one of the last surviving bishops in the world to have been appointed by Pope (now saint) Paul VI.

During his time as Archbishop of Glasgow, Archbishop Mario Conti oversaw the renovation of St Andrew’s Cathedral and the construction of the adjacent Italian Cloister Garden to remember the victims of the wartime Arandora Star tragedy.

One of his proudest moments came when he welcomed Pope Benedict XVI to Britain at the first public Mass of the German Pope’s state visit in 2010 at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

He held honorary doctorates from the Universities of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian.

READ MORE: Mario Conti is new Archbishop of Glasgow

He was also a member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a former lead chaplain to the Knights of Malta and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre.

Bishop Gilbert said: "In his retirement, he was a source of great wisdom and pastoral support to his successors both in Glasgow and Aberdeen.

"His work in ecumenism and interfaith matters as well as his affection for the Italian community in Scotland were among his defining characteristics.

"On behalf of the Bishops of Scotland, we commend his soul into the hands of God and pray that he may enjoy eternal rest.”

Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “We are very saddened to learn about the death of Archbishop Mario Conti, Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow, and extend our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and members of the Catholic Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Archbishop Conti made an outstanding contribution to ecumenism within Scotland and internationally and we recall this with gratitude.

“May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”