Silvio Berlusconi, the boastful billionaire media mogul who was Italy’s longest-serving premier despite scandals over his sex-fueled parties and allegations of corruption, died Monday, according to his television network. He was 86.
Mediaset announced his death with a smiling photo of the man on its homepage and the headline: “Berlusconi is dead.”
Berlusconi was admitted to the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan on Friday, his second hospitalization in months for treatment of chronic leukemia. He also suffered over the years from heart ailments, prostate cancer and was hospitalized for COVID-19 in 2020.
A onetime cruise ship crooner, Berlusconi used his television networks and immense wealth to launch his long political career, inspiring both loyalty and loathing.
To admirers, the three-time premier was a capable and charismatic statesman who sought to elevate Italy on the world stage. To critics, he was a populist who threatened to undermine democracy by wielding political power as a tool to enrich himself and his businesses.
(Source: AP NEWS)