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Pope John Paul II blesses a child during the presentation of gifts while celebrating mass in St. Louis, Missouri in this January 27, 1999 file photo. The Pope, 84, who headed the Roman Catholic Church for 26 years and played a key role in the fall of communism in Europe, died on April 2, 2005, the Vatican said in a statement. The news was immediately announced to around 60,000 gathered in Saint Peter's Square and was met with a long applause, an Italian sign of respect. Bells tolled and many people wept openly. Picture taken January 27, 1999. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn/Files