BRUSSELS, Belgium — Belgian Cardinal Gustaaf Joos, who derided lesbians and gays as "sexual perverts," died Tuesday, local church officials said. He was 81.
The cardinal died at home.
He fell ill after saying Mass on Tuesday morning at a church in Landskouter, northwest of Brussels, which he had led since 1970, the diocese said.
The diocese did not release the cause of death.
Joos, who was appointed cardinal last year, studied with Pope John Paul II before he became pontiff.
The cardinal gained notoriety earlier this year when he said in an interview that he thought almost all homosexuals were "sexual perverts."
"I am prepared to sign here in my blood that of all those who say they are lesbian or gay, at most 5 to 10% are effectively lesbian or gay. All the rest are simply sexual perverts," Joos said in a January interview in the news and entertainment weekly P-Magazine.