Slovak Roman Catholic priest Anton Srholec, who was persecuted by the communist regime, has died. He was 86.

His Slovak branch of the Salesians of Don Bosco says Srholec died Thursday morning a year after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Srholec wasn't allowed to study theology by the communist authorities in the former Czechoslovakia and spent 10 years in prisons, serving most of his time in the notorious uranium mines in Jachymov.

He was ordained by Pope Paul VI in 1970 but was banned under communism.

After the anti-Communist Velvet Revolution, he focused on charity and created a center for homeless people.

President Andrej Kiska said Srholec made Slovakia a "better and nicer" place and Prime Minister Robert Fico offered his condolences.