Tributes have been paid to Bishop Paul Sirba, who has led the Roman Catholic Church's Diocese of Duluth since 2009, after he died suddenly at the age of 59.
The Diocese of Duluth announced on Sunday that Sirba suffered a heart attack at St. Rose Church in Proctor, Minnesota, and died at 9 a.m. at Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth.
"Words do not adequately express our sorrow at this sudden loss of our Shepherd," the diocese said.
"We have great hope and faith in Bishop Sirba’s resurrection to new life, and have confident assurance that he will hear the words of our Lord: 'Well done, good and faithful servant, enter in the joy of your Master.'"
Sirba had led the Duluth diocese since 2009, having been raised in Bloomington, Minnesota, where he attended Nativity of Mary Grade School, before attending the Academy of the Holy Angels in Richfield.
He went on to study at the College of St. Thomas and then the St. Paul Seminary, where he received his divinity degree.
He was ordained as a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in 1986, starting as an associate pastor at the Church of St. Olaf in Minneapolis.
He then spent time in churches in Savage and two in St. Paul before becoming the spiritual director at the St. Paul Seminary in 2006. He was ordained as the ninth Bishop of Duluth in December 2009.
Arrangements for Sirba's funeral Mass and burial are pending.