Silvio Berlusconi, Former Italian PM, Dies At 86

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Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian PM. PHOTO BY REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

BY BBC NEWS

Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian PM who bounced back from sex scandals and corruption allegations, has died aged 86.

He died at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, according to Italian media.

In April, Berlusconi was treated for a lung infection linked to a previously undisclosed case of chronic leukemia.

A flamboyant billionaire media tycoon, Berlusconi first came to office in 1994 and led four governments until 2011.

He led the center-right Forza Italia party which went into a 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,” Mr. Crosetto wrote in a tweet, adding that he “loved” Berlusconi “very much”.

Silvio Berlusconi was born into a middle-class family in Milan on 29 September 1936 and grew up in a village outside the city during World War Two.

Berlusconi’s flamboyant personality struck a chord with the Italian electorate, who continued to back him despite allegations of corruption and double-dealing.

Four times he was prime minister, and each time it seemed his political career was over, he managed to confound his critics and bounce back.

Nine years after he was banned from public office for tax fraud, he was back in parliament and elected to Italy’s Senate before he turned 86 in September 2022.

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