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20 June, 2024
 
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Sylvio Berlusconi dead at 86

The former Italian Prime Minister had fought a tough battle with leukemia in recent months

Source: The Sun

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has died following a tough battle with leukemia.

The billionaire media mogul, 86, was dashed to Milan's San Raffaele Hospital on June 9.

He was admitted to the hospital with heart problems and shortness of breath.

The former prime minister had been hospitalized for a second time in the same hospital from which he was discharged on 19 May after spending 45 days in the facility.

The Forza Italia leader was hospitalized with pneumonia after a diagnosis of blood cancer.

He underwent intensive therapy to battle the disease but to no avail.

Berlusconi reportedly spent four days at the same hospital in April for treatment, according to news agency Ansa.

The politician had shared a tweet at the time thanking people for their concern alongside a snap of him smiling at home.

Berlusconi wrote: "I have already returned to work on the main themes of these days, ready and determined to commit myself, as I always have, to the country I love."

His death follows a series of health scares in recent years.

Berlusconi was hospitalized for Covid-related pneumonia in September 2020 but later recovered.

However, the following year he was admitted several times for complications stemming from the deadly virus.

Berlusconi was forced to undergo open heart surgery in 2016 and surgery on his intestine three years later.

The four-time prime minister, who is fitted with a pacemaker, has also overcome prostate cancer.

But his time in office hasn't been without controversy, as the party-loving former leader is well known for his sex scandals and eyebrow-raising jokes.

Berlusconi - who was in a relationship with Forza Italia MP Marta Fascina, 33 - allegedly held lavish "Bunga Bunga" bashes at his villa.

He was accused, but later acquitted, of paying young women for "silence and lies" surrounding the infamous gatherings, which he always insisted were simply elegant dinners.

But guests claimed they were in fact wild sex parties with "orgies", where women stripped and performed "raunchy pole dances".

PLAYBOY PM

The ex-PM, who previously described himself as the "Jesus Christ of politics", also landed himself in hot water in 2010.

It was alleged that the lothario had abused his position of power to protect a young Moroccan nightclub dancer who was arrested.

Police detained Karima El-Mahroug, known by her stage name 'Ruby the Heart Stealer', for theft - but she was released after Berlusconi claimed she was the niece of then Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

He was charged with paying her for sex when she was just 17 and was found guilty until he was acquitted in 2014.

An appeals court ruled there was no proof he knew El-Mahroug was a minor.

Berlusconi was also temporarily banned from politics after a conviction of tax fraud in 2013.

He served a community sentence and muscled his way back into the spotlight before being re-elected as a senator in 2022.

Berlusconi proved old habits died hard last year after promising his Monza players a "bus full of prostitutes" if they beat AC Milan or Juventus.

The 86-year-old, who owned AC Milan between 1986 and 2017, bought the team in 2018.

The billionaire served as Italy's Prime Minister on three occasions, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and from 2008 to 2011.

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