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Ex-head of Archdiocese of Philadelphia Anthony Bevilacqua dies at 88

In this June 23, 1991 file photo Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, speaks at a news conference at his residence in Philadelphia, Pa., before traveling to the Vatican.

In this June 23, 1991 file photo Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua of the Philadelphia Archdiocese, speaks at a news conference at his residence in Philadelphia, Pa., before traveling to the Vatican.  (AP)

Retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who served as head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 15 years, has died. He was 88.

Spokeswoman Donna Farrell says Bevilacqua died Tuesday night is his sleep at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, where he lived. He had been battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer,

Bevilacqua was criticized but never charged by two grand juries investigating child sex abuse in the Roman Catholic church.

He was the spiritual leader of the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.

Bevilacqua's death comes just days after lawyers battled in court over his competency as a witness in an upcoming church-abuse case involving his longtime aide.