Mormon leader Robert D. Hales dies; served on top panel

Mormon Elder Robert D. Hales speaking at the 181st Semiannual General Conference in Salt Lake City, in 2011.

 (Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File)

A top-ranking Mormon leader, 85-year-old Robert D. Hales, has died after he was hospitalized last week with pulmonary and other conditions.

Church spokesman Eric Hawkins said in a statement that Hales died Sunday at 12:15 p.m. in a Salt Lake City hospital surrounded by his wife and family from causes tied to his age.

Hales missed this weekend’s church conference after he was hospitalized several days ago.

Hales was born in New York City and was a business executive before he was chosen in 1994 as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, a high-level governing body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

He is the fourth top Mormon leader to die in the last three years. Quorum members Boyd K. Packer, L. Tom Perry and Richard G. Scott died in 2015.

A replacement will be chosen for Hales at a later date.

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