Former Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi, the billionaire media mogul credited with transforming Italy’s political landscape, has died at 86. He served as Italian Prime Minister three times between 1994 and 2011. According to the reports, he had been suffering from leukemia and was admitted to San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, where he succumbed to a recent lung infection.
Berlusconi’s extensive political career included appointments as Italian Prime Minister and as a member of the European Parliament since 2019. His Forza Italia party is currently a junior partner in Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s ruling right-wing coalition. Berlusconi faced numerous scandals and trials over tax schemes and sexual escapades. He was once convicted, but later cleared, of charges of having sex with a nightclub dancer at one of his wild parties.
His passing was mourned by allies and rivals alike. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini described Berlusconi as a ‘great friend’. Italian Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said that Berlusconi’s death leaves a ‘huge void’ and marked the end of an era.