The news agency said the cardinal had been hospitalized for pneumonia earlier in the month, after testing positive for Covid-19. He had been in poor health for some time.
In a telegram sent to the cardinal’s sister on Saturday, Pope Francis expressed his condolences.
“I recall his diligent work alongside so many of my predecessors, who entrusted him with important responsibilities in the Vatican diplomacy, up to the delicate office of the Secretary of State,” Francis said.
Sodano was a long-time Vatican presence, having served two popes as secretary of state and as dean of the College of Cardinals. He remained influential even in retirement.
He repeatedly came under pressure during the years that followed for downplaying sexual abuse or blocking investigations into the scandal.