Spanish Attorney General Jose Manuel Maza died unexpectedly on Saturday after being admitted to a Buenos hospital for an unspecified illness.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed the top prosecutor’s passing on Twitter, while expressing his “deepest condolences” to Maza’s family and friends.
Maza had been in the position for just under a year, and had most recently led the Spanish state’s investigation into 14 members from Catalonia’s ousted regional government for alleged rebellion, sedition and misappropriation of public funds.
The probe was launched following the Catalan government’s decision to hold an independence referendum that the Spanish courts viewed as unlawful. After the Catalan regional government’s decision to announce the region’s secession from Spain, the Spanish government in Madrid moved to dismiss Catalonia’s parliamentary cabinet and seize control of the assembly.
As of Saturday, there was no clear candidate in place to take over the office left vacant following Maza’s passing.