Priest dies just hours after celebrating Mass on TV

Father Eric Thielemans, a parish Priest in Berlaar in Antwerp Province, died on Sunday just hours after having celebrated Mass live on television. Father Thielemans become unwell minutes after the end of the service in the Sint-Rumolduskerk in Berlaar-Heikant. He was taken to hospital where he died, probably after having suffered cardiac arrest.  

Speaking in an interview with the daily ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ the Mayor of Berlaar Walter Horemans (Christian democrat) said that nothing seemed to be wrong with the Priest during Mass.  

“He became ill a little later in the sacristy”. An ambulance was called and the clergyman was taken to hospital. At first it appeared that he was having back trouble possible caused by the stress of his TV appearance. He was subjected to tests.  

“Just after 4pm the Priest even made some telephone calls. A little later were received the bad news that he had died”, Mayor Horemans added.

There is still no official cause of death. However, a blood clot or cardiac arrest are the most likely causes. 

Father Thielemans is reported to have been well-liked among his parishioners. With is death, Berlaar reportedly loses a very active clergyman that was always prepared to lend a hand.