Pope Francis has joked that he is “still alive” as he left hospital in Rome after a three-day stay, the BBC reports.
He was admitted to Gemelli Hospital mid-week with breathing difficulties, and later diagnosed with bronchitis.
The Vatican had said he was responding to antibiotics and would be released on Saturday, depending on test results.
“I wasn’t frightened, I’m still alive,” the 86-year-old pontiff told reporters and tearful well wishers 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.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Friday that the Pope was excepted to take part in this weekend’s service for Palm Sunday.