The former head of the Archdiocese of Detroit and Grand Rapids native Cardinal Edmund Szoka died at a Novi hospital of natural causes at age 86, the diocese said.

"We mourn the loss of a dedicated shepherd," Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said in a statement. "For sixty years Cardinal Szoka gave himself totally to his priestly service of Christ and his Church."

Szoka was born in Grand Rapids in 1927 to Polish immigrants Casimir and Mary Szoka.

Rising through the ranks of the clergy, Szoka ascended to a position overseeing economic affairs at Vatican City in 1990.

Szoka celebrated his 60th anniversary in the priesthood this year. The archdiocese said he died of natural causes Wednesday evening at Providence Park Hospital in Novi.