Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been diagnosed with leukemia, according to Corriere della Sera, a leading Italian newspaper.
His spokesman, Paolo Russo, did not deny the reports when asked and said he is “not authorized to give health info but the Corriere della Sera is the most authoritative Italian newspaper.”
A second spokesperson for the Forza Italia party leader did not deny the report when contacted.
Berlusconi, 86, was hospitalized on Wednesday with breathing problems.
The controversial media tycoon has served three stints as Italy’s prime minister, most recently between 2008 and 2011, before being banned from politics for six years following a conviction for tax fraud.
Berlusconi returned to frontline politics in 2022 when he won a seat in Italy’s Senate, representing the northern municipality of Monza.
He was separately hospitalized last week for “routine checks,” his spokesman told CNN without providing further details.
In 2021 he was hospitalized for treatment for the symptoms of long Covid-19, according to the press office of his Forza Italia party. He also spent time in the hospital the previous year after contracting the coronavirus and has had a number of other health concerns, including a 2016 heart surgery to replace an aortic valve.