A Church spokesman says President José Maria Batalla passed away Tuesday morning of cardiac arrest. The 60-year-old had been battling COVID-19 for nearly two months.
According to the Church, Sister Valeria Batalla was at her husband’s side when he passed at a rehabilitation hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The couple has been serving as mission leaders in Bolivia since July 2020. They are from Nordelta, Argentina.
Batalla previously served as an Area Seventy, stake president, and bishop. He leaves behind two daughters and two sons.
In April 2020, the Church announced the passing of a senior missionary, Elder Allen Dee Pace. Days before his passing, he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
In May of this year, two missionaries – 18-year-old Elder Luke Masakazu Carter of Springville and 20-year-old Elder Eli Jon Fowler of Pueblo West, Colorado – were killed in a Texas crash. Weeks earlier, 21-year-old Elder Fernando Antonio Ramos Garcia of Juayua, El Salvador, died after drowning in a river.
In January, 19-year-old Elder Jake Smith of Lehi passed away after a car crash in Arkansas. Three other missionaries were injured. Another missionary, 20-year-old Elder Samuel Joseph Iseh, Jr. of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, passed away after experiencing a sudden health episode.