HomeEuropeItalian Former PM Silvio Berlusconi Passes Away at 86

Italian Former PM Silvio Berlusconi Passes Away at 86

IN BRIEF: -Silvio Berlusconi’s passing marks the end of an era in Italian politics, leaving behind a complex legacy that has shaped the nation’s history.

-As Italy mourns the loss of a significant political figure, his contributions and influence will be remembered by many.

Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister of Italy, has sadly passed away at the age of 86. After being admitted to San Raffaele hospital in Milan on Friday, reports emerged of his death, following a period of serious health concerns.

Berlusconi, who had been battling leukemia, had previously spent 45 days in the hospital in April due to a lung infection and breathing difficulties. Although his cancer was described as “not acute” by doctors, his condition remained a cause for concern.

A prominent figure in Italian politics, Berlusconi served as the country’s prime minister in four separate governments, making him the longest-serving premier since dictator Benito Mussolini. His political career was intertwined with his role as a media tycoon, having founded the Mediaset television group and owned the renowned AC Milan football club from 1986 until 2017.

Throughout his eventful political and business journey, Berlusconi faced numerous legal battles, with over 30 trials related to alleged crimes such as abuse of office, defamation, and connections with the mafia. While he was acquitted earlier this year in the “Ruby” trial, where he was suspected of bribing witnesses in a previous case involving accusations of paying for sex with an underage prostitute (of which he was found not guilty in 2014), his path was not without controversy.

In 2013, Berlusconi was sentenced to four years in prison for tax fraud, leading to a ban on holding public office. However, the ban was lifted in 2018, and he later became a member of the European Parliament (MEP). His return to politics was marked by winning a Senate seat in September, following the collapse of Mario Draghi’s government.

Berlusconi’s political party, Forza Italia, formed part of a center-right coalition with other parties such as the Brothers of Italy, Lega Nord, and Us Moderates, securing 45 seats in the snap election.

The passing of Silvio Berlusconi has left a significant void in Italian politics. Defense Minister Guido Crosetto described his death as the end of an era, emphasizing the former prime minister’s substantial contributions and expressing deep fondness for him.

Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega Nord party, also paid tribute, acknowledging that Italy had bid farewell to a great figure. He called for a minute of silence to commemorate Berlusconi’s passing.

Internationally, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences, praising Berlusconi as a true patriot who made invaluable contributions to Italy’s social and economic development. Putin cherished their personal friendship and regarded Berlusconi as a wise individual who significantly strengthened Italy’s position within the European Union and on the international stage.

In Russia, Berlusconi will be remembered as a consistent advocate for strengthening Russo-Italian relations. Putin acknowledged his invaluable personal efforts in fostering mutually beneficial ties between the two countries.

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