On 31 March 2005 the Pope developed septic shock, a widespread form of infection with a very high fever and profoundly low blood pressure, but was not taken to the hospital. Instead, he was offered medical monitoring by a team of consultants at his private residence. This was taken as an indication that the pope and those close to him believed that he was nearing death; it would have been in accordance with his wishes to die in the Vatican. Later that day Vatican sources announced that John Paul II had been given the Anointing of the Sick by his friend and secretary Stanisław Dziwisz. During the final days of the Pope's life, the lights were kept burning through the night where he lay in the Papal apartment on the top floor of the Apostolic Palace.|
Tens of thousands of people rushed to the Vatican, filling St. Peter's Square and beyond with a vast multitude, and held vigil for two days. Upon hearing of this, the dying pope was said to have stated: "I have searched for you, and now you have come to me, and I thank you."
On Saturday 2 April, at about 15:30 CEST, John Paul II spoke his final words, "Let me go to the house of the Father," to his aides in his native Polish and fell into a coma about four hours later. He died in his private apartment, at 21:37 CEST (19:37 UTC), 46 days short of his 85th birthday. The mass of the vigil of the Second Sunday of Easter, that is, Divine Mercy Sunday which was put into the Church's calendar by him on the occasion of the canonization of St. Faustina on 30 April 2000, had just been celebrated at his bedside. Several aides were present, along with several Polish nuns of the Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, who ran the papal household.
A crowd of over two million present in Vatican City mourned the death of John Paul II. The public viewing of his body in St. Peter's Basilica drew over four million people to Vatican City and was one of the largest pilgrimages in the history of Christianity. Many world leaders expressed their condolences and ordered flags in their countries lowered to half-staff. Numerous countries with a Catholic majority, and even some with only a small Catholic population, declared mourning for John Paul II.
On his death certificate, the primary cause of death was listed as (refractory) septic shock leading to profound hypotension and complete circulatory collapse.
The death of the pontiff set in motion rituals and traditions dating back to medieval times. The Rite of Visitation took place from 4 April to 7 April at St. Peter's Basilica. The Mass of Requiem on 8 April was said to have set world records both for attendance and number of heads of state present at a funeral. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Joseph Ratzinger, who would become the next pope, conducted the ceremony. John Paul II was interred in the grottoes under the basilica, the Tomb of the Popes. He was lowered into a tomb created in the same alcove previously occupied by the remains of Blessed Pope John XXIII. The alcove had been empty since Pope John's remains had been moved into the main body of the basilica after his beatification.