Pope Francis is in mourning following the death of three family members in a car crash in his native Argentina.

The pontiff's nephew Emanuel Horacio Bergoglio was driving a car carrying his wife and two young sons when it was hit by a truck in the early hours of Tuesday morning (19Aug14).

The two boys, aged eight months and two, were killed along with their mother. Bergoglio remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi says of the sad news, "The Pope was informed about the tragic accident. He is deeply pained... (he has asked) all who share in his grief to unite with him in prayer."