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 June 13, 2023

Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian PM, dead at 86

The world was stunned this week to learn of the death of Silvio Berlusconi, former three-time Italian prime minister and business mogul. 

According to Fox News, his media company confirmed his death this week. Berlusconi was 86.

His death came in the wake of several recent hospitalizations for leukemia treatment.

"Berlusconi is dead," the headline read on the homepage of his media company's website.

Fox noted:

Berlusconi, who in 2006 reportedly referred to himself as the "Jesus Christ of politics," served as the Italian premier for a total of nine years across four governments.

He was the longest-serving Italian leader since the country became a republic in 1946.

The former prime minister was a controversial figure, to say the least. After being elected, he would find himself at the center of investigations regarding corruption and fraud -- cases that were eventually overturned.

Critics say the former politician used his powerful political influence to quash a multitude of investigations into many of his scandals.

He only ever faced one charge that stuck: a tax-related charge in 2013. His sentence was reduced to one year, but he was also banned from holding office for the next six years after that.

Fox News added:

Berlusconi has battled ill health for years, suffering from a compromised heart and previously overcoming prostate cancer.

In 2020, Berlusconi contracted a COVID-19 infection that threatened his life. He was hospitalized for 10 days and told the press it was one of the most dangerous health issues he had ever faced.

Berlusconi drew both criticism and praise after news of his death made the headlines.

Another Twitter user wrote, "Despite all the indictments & scandals, Berlusconi died at age 86 while still a sitting senator, party leader & part of Meloni’s coalition government. His effective propaganda machine & legitimization of neo-Fascists kept him in power, regardless crimes & brazen criminal conduct."

While sick in his last months, he reached out to thank those who supported him.

Written By:
Ryan Ledendecker

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