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Patriarch Maxim dies after 4 decades at the top of Bulgaria's Orthodox Church at age of 98

Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria, the spiritual leader of the Balkan country's Orthodox Christians, has died. He was 98.

The patriarch died early Tuesday at a Sofia hospital, the Holy Synod said in a statement. It said he was hospitalized one month ago suffering of fatigue.

Church officials did not say when a new patriarch would be chosen or who would serve as interim head of the church.

Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in this Balkan country, followed by more than 80 percent of Bulgaria's 7.4 million people.