INDIANAPOLIS: Archbishop Daniel Buechlein, who led the Indianapolis Roman Catholic Archdiocese for 19 years before a stroke forced his retirement in 2011, has died. He was 79.

Buechlein died early Thursday at the infirmary of southern Indiana’s St. Meinrad Archabbey, where he had been living since his retirement, according to the archdiocese. Spokesman Greg Otolski said he didn’t immediately know the cause of Buechlein’s death, but that his health had been declining over the past month.

Buechlein was bishop of the Memphis, Tenn., diocese for five years before Pope John Paul II named him the fifth archbishop of Indianapolis in 1992. He grew up in the southern Indiana city of Jasper and became a Benedictine monk at St. Meinrad, including serving as president-rector of its college.

Current Archbishop Charles Thompson called Buechlein “a great mentor and dear friend.”

“He was a faithful monk, priest, rector and bishop,” Thompson said in a news release. “Like so many, I will certainly miss him. He was such a tremendous model of prayerfulness, holiness and leadership.”

At his retirement news conference, Buechlein said his proudest accomplishment was strengthening the education system for the archdiocese, which includes some 225,000 Catholics in 39 Indiana counties.