Pope Francis has joked that he is “still alive” as he left the hospital in Rome after a three-day stay.
He was admitted to Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday with breathing difficulties and later diagnosed with bronchitis.
The Vatican had earlier said the pontiff would be released on Saturday if his latest test results allowed it.
“I wasn’t frightened, I’m still alive,” the Pope, 86, told reporters outside the hospital before being driven away.
He was seen smiling and waving from the car, before getting out to speak to a crowd. He then headed for the Vatican.
The Pope’s admission to the hospital came ahead of the busiest week in the Christian calendar to celebrate Easter.
Holy Week, as it is known, includes a busy schedule of events and services that can be physically demanding.
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The Argentine pontiff, who marked 10 years as head of the Catholic Church earlier this month, has suffered a number of health issues throughout his life, including having part of one of his lungs removed at age 21.