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Retired pope’s elder brother, Georg Ratzinger, dies at 96

David Rising
Associated Press

Berlin – The Rev. Georg Ratzinger, the older brother of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who earned renown in his own right as a director of an acclaimed German boys’ choir, has died at 96.

In this Thursday, Sept. 16, 2010 file photo, Georg Ratzinger attends a ceremony to hand over the keys of his house in Pentling near Regensburg, Germany.

The Regensburg diocese in Bavaria, where Ratzinger lived, said in a statement on his website that he died Tuesday. His death came just over a week after Benedict made a four-day visit to Regensburg to be with his ailing brother.

Ordained on the same day as his brother, Ratzinger proved to be a talented musician and went on oversee the recording of numerous masterpieces and concert tours around the world by the Regensburger Domspatzen, a storied choir that traces its history back to the 10th century. But his reputation was tarnished as he apologized for using corporal punishment to discipline boys amid a wider investigation into sexual and physical abuse in the Church.

In this Sept. 13, 2006 file picture Pope Benedict XVI, right, walks with his brother priest Georg Ratzinger in Regensburg, southern Germany.

He remained extremely close to his brother throughout his career, expressing dismay when Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope that the stress would affect his health and that they would no longer spend so much time together.