Silvio Berlusconi, Scandal-ridden Former Italian Prime Minister, Dies Aged 86
Former Italian Prime Minister silvio berlusconi dies age 86. The media tycoon, whose Forza Italia party is a junior partner in Italy's ruling coalition and headed three governments between 1994 and 2011, was diagnosed with leukemia some time ago.
Hilda WorkmanJun 13, 20235859 Shares150234 Views
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dies age 86.
The media tycoon, whose Forza Italia party is a junior partner in Italy's ruling coalition and headed three governments between 1994 and 2011, was diagnosed with leukemia some time ago.
Berlusconi was one of Italy's most outspoken politicians, making a comeback in 2017 despite a career marred by sex scandals, corruption claims, and a tax fraud conviction.
He died at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, where he had been treated for a lung infection associated with chronic myelomonocytic leukemia for six weeks before being readmitted.
Berlusconi, who was born in 1936 in Milan to a middle-class family, began his business career in property development before founding Mediaset, Italy's largest commercial broadcaster. Between 1986 and 2017, he was also the owner of the AC Milan football club.
Forza Italia was established in 1993. A year later, Berlusconi became the first prime minister to be elected without having ever held a government position. His second stint in office, from 2001 to 2006, was the longest of any Italian leader after World War II. He regained power in 2008 but was forced to leave in 2011 due to a severe debt problem.
Berlusconi was convicted of tax evasion in late 2012, and he spent his year-long sentence performing part-time community service at a Milan residential home.
His ban on running for office was removed just in time for the 2018 general elections, in which Forza Italia ran in partnership with the League and the Brothers of Italy but fell short of the 40% needed to govern.
Berlusconi was elected to the European Parliament in 2019, and his party returned to power in general elections in October 2022 as part of a coalition led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy. Berlusconi was elected as a senator as well.
Meloni said on Monday: “Silvio Berlusconi was above all a fighter. He was a man who was never afraid to stand up for his convictions, and it was exactly that courage and determination that made him one of the most influential men in the history of Italy.”
Berlusconi recently said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had brought him bottles of vodka for his birthday, despite their recent disagreement over the Ukraine conflict. The Russian embassy in Rome lauded Berlusconi as a brilliant leader and visionary on Monday, while Putin called him a "dear person, a true friend."
Berlusconi was lauded as "a great friend and a great Italian man" by Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister.
Silvio Berlusconi with the AC Milan players Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten in 1990 with the European Cup
Berlusconi, often known as Il Cavaliere (the Knight), was widely regarded as the "kingmaker" in Italian politics. He had surgery in 2016 to replace a defective aortic valve, and he was admitted to the hospital in September 2020 with Covid. He experienced "the worst of my life" difficulties as a result of the illness.
He married twice and was in a seven-year romance with Francesca Pascale, 37, before marrying Marta Fascina, 33, a Forza Italia MP with whom he had a "symbolic marriage" in March 2022. He leaves behind five children.
The death of Berlusconi was described as "a great, enormous pain" by Italy's defense minister, Guido Crosetto. "He leaves a huge void because he was great. An era is over, an era is closing. I loved him very much. Goodbye, Silvio."
His opponents also banded together to pay tribute. Former European Commission President Romano Prodi, possibly Berlusconi's most ardent political adversary, was among the first to respond. Prodi stated:
We represented different and opposing worlds, but our rivalry never turned into sentiments of animosity on a personal level, and the debate remained within the sphere of mutual respect.- Romano Prodi
Elly Schlein, the secretary of the center-left Democratic Party, expressed her party's "deepest condolences."
Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in intensive care with leukemia
Everything has divided us and divides us from his political vision, but the human respect for a person who was a protagonist in our country’s history remains,” she said. “Deepest condolences from the Democratic party.’’
Silvio Berlusconi may be gone, but Trump's still here. The rotten populist legacy is everywhere.- Paolo Gerbaudo
Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called Berlusconi a "historic figure." "Many loved him, many despised him; today, everyone must acknowledge that his impact on political, economic, sporting, and television life was unprecedented."
The sporting world also paid tribute. "I have lost my brilliant friend," said former football coach Arrigo Sacchi, whose Milan squad won the Champions League for the third time in a row.
Berlusconi sold his stake in AC Milan in 2017 to purchase Monza, a football team that rose from Italy's second tier to the first flight. "Forever with us," Monza said in a statement. A gap that will never be filled. Thank you very much, President."
According to insiders, Berlusconi's body would be taken to his house in Arcore, north of Milan, at Villa San Martino. His funeral will most likely be held in Milan Cathedral.