Sad news reaching us has it that the former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, who bounced back from sex scandals and corruption allegations, has been confirmed dead. Berlusconi died at the age of 86.
NewsBits gathered that Berlusconi died at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Italy, on Monday, June 12, 2023. In April, the former Prime Minister was treated for a lung infection linked to a previously undisclosed case of chronic leukaemia. A flamboyant billionaire media tycoon, Berlusconi first came to office in 1994 and led four governments until 2011.
He led the centre-right Forza Italia party which went into coalition under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni after elections in September when he was elected to Italy’s upper house, the Senate.
Reacting to the news, Italy’s Defence Minister, Guido Crosetto, said Berlusconi’s death left a “huge void”. “An era is over… Farewell Silvio,” Crosetto wrote in a tweet, adding that he “loved” Berlusconi “very much”.
Also speaking, former Prime Minister and leader of the political party Italia Viva, Matteo Renzi, said: “Many loved him, many hated him: everyone today must recognize that his impact on political but also economic, sporting and television life was unprecedented.
“Today Italy mourns together with its family, its loved ones, its companies, its party. To all those who loved him, my most affectionate and most sincere embrace. In these hours I carry with me the memories of our meetings… of our agreements, of our clashes.”
The most talked about Italian politician since Benito Mussolini, Berlusconi was once described as a “disease that can only be cured through vaccination” by the country’s most respected post-war journalist, the late Indro Montanelli.
The vaccine, Montanelli argued on the eve of the 2001 general election, involved “a healthy injection of Berlusconi in the prime minister’s seat, Berlusconi in the president’s seat, Berlusconi in the pope’s seat or wherever else he may want. Only after that will we be immune.”
Montanelli was wrong about immunity, and so were the many other pundits who wrote off the Cavaliere, time and time again, even as his political career – and popularity – powered on.