Pope Francis joked that he is “still alive” as he left hospital in Rome after a three-day stay.
The Pope, 86, was admitted to Gemelli Hospital on Wednesday with suspected bronchitis. His medical team said he responded well to antibiotics.
But he headed back to the Vatican on Saturday – stopping on the way out to greet a select few well-wishers and sign a boy’s cast.
“I wasn’t frightened, I’m still alive,” he quipped to reporters.
He returns to a busy schedule, with services planned throughout Easter.
The Vatican says he is expected to take part in this weekend’s service for Palm Sunday.
There has been speculation about the pontiff’s health for some time, with claims last year that he was considering following his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict’s decision to stand aside in his advancing years – though he has insisted he has no plans to resign any time soon.
He has spoken of a number of health issues in recent years, with a knee injury forcing him to use a wheelchair and walking stick on occasion.
Pope Francis is known to suffer from diverticulitis, a condition that can infect or inflame the colon, and had an operation at the Gemelli hospital in 2021 to remove part of his colon.
He said in January that the condition had returned and that it was causing him to put on weight, but that he was not overly concerned.
Vatican insiders told i earlier this week that a factional jockeying for power has already begun around the pontiff – with hardliners making plans for a conservative to succeed the moderate Francis when the time comes.