Former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron has passed away Sunday night at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem due to complications of the novel coronavirus.
Bakshi-Doron was hospitalized last week after having tested positive for the virus.
Shaare Zedek Hospital said: "The condition of the rabbi, who suffered from complex underlying health issues, deteriorated throughout the day and despite many resuscitation efforts, the doctors had to pronounce him dead."
Following Bakshi Doron's hospitalization, his bureau chief Avi Sheetrit said: "The rabbi was one of the first to order his synagogue closed, even before Purim, before any decisions were taken."
Sheetrit said the rabbi's sons had been with him constantly at the hospital.
Bakshi-Doron served as Israel's chief Sephardi rabbi, also known as Rishon LeZion, between the years 1993 and 2003. He passed away at the age of 79 and became Israel's 104th victim of the virus since the country's first COVID-19-related fatality was recorded last month.
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday night paid tribute to the former chief rabbi calling him "a man of kindness and generosity."
He also sent condolences to the rabbi's family saying that, "The whole of Israel embraces you."
Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who heads the Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas, also paid tribute to the late rabbi.
"Rabbi Bakshi Doron was a greatly wise student, a guide to many of the people of Israel and his passing is a great blow," he said. "It is very great pain and a great loss to the people of Israel."