Former Pope Benedict's brother Georg dies at 96

: Catholic Priest Georg Ratzinger, the 81-year-old brother of newly elected German Pope Benedict XVI, arrives at Munich's airport April 23, 2005, to depart for Rome to visit his brother.

Georg Ratzinger, the brother of former Pope Benedict who nurtured a very close relationship over decades to his sibling, has died at the age of 96 in the German town of Regensburg, public broadcaster BR reported on Wednesday.

In June, Benedict, aged 93, had spent five days in his native Germany to visit his ailing brother, who was also a priest.

It was the first time that Benedict left Italy since 2013, when he became the first Pope to resign in six centuries.

The Diocese of Regensburg had no immediate comment.

Georg and Benedict entered a seminary where they both trained to be priests at the same time in January 1946, after both serving in the army before Nazi Germany’s defeat at the end of World War Two.

Even following Benedict’s elevation to the papacy in 2005, they remained in close touch, with Georg telling the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that his brother would regularly phone him on a private phone whose number only the Pontiff knew.