Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, the longest serving cardinal in American history, has died, the Archdiocese of Washington said Friday.
Baum died Thursday after battling a long illness. Baum was the third Archbishop of Washington, holding the position from 1973 until 1980. He was named a cardinal in 1976, making his tenure the longest in U.S. history.
Baum also served in Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and as the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary
"[For 64 years he responded faithfully to the call to become an image of Jesus, dedicated to manifesting Christ’s love and teaching, leading and sanctifying those entrusted to his care," Cardinal Donald Wuerl said in a post on his blog.
Baum was 88 years old.