Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died of natural causes and no foul play is suspected, the Montgomery County Coroner announced Thursday.
Coroner Walter Hoffman said toxicology tests revealed nothing unusual about the 88-year-old’s death on Jan. 31 and that there was no correlation between his passing and a Common Pleas Court judge’s ruling the day before that Bevilacqua was competent to testify in a priest sex-abuse trial. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman requested the inquiry into Bevilacqua’s death due to the timing.
Hofman said the cause of death was heart disease and that prostate cancer contributed to his death.
“He’d been under excellent medical care and all of his physicians … cooperated fully with our investigation,” Hofman said during a press conference.
Bevilacqua retired in 2003 and had been largely confined to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood where he died. Officials said he had been diagnosed with dementia and cancer.
A taped deposition of Bevilacqua is expected to be read to the jury during the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, who is accused of transferring pedophile priests to other parishes. Lynn’s trial begins March 26.