BREAKING: Silvio Berlusconi, Former Italian Prime Minister, Dies At 86

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has died.

The 86-year-old senator and leader of the Forza Italia party was admitted to hospital on Friday.

Mr Berlusconi stepped down as prime minister for the last time in 2011 as Italy came close to a Greece-style debt crisis, f

acing several scandals, most notably around his notorious “bunga bunga” parties.

A decade ago he was banned from holding public office over a tax fraud conviction stemming from dealings in his media empire, but the ban was lifted in 2018.

He returned to the Italian Senate after a national election last September.

Last year he triggered uproar with comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin when he boasted the two had exchanged birthday greetings and blamed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the war.

Mr Berlusconi built Italy’s largest commercial TV network and gained an international profile as the owner of the football club AC Milan before he entered politics in 1994 after the previous political class was brought down by a corruption scandal.

Berlusconi’s recent health troubles

The former Italian leader was treated in intensive care at Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital in April for a lung infection related to leukaemia, his doctors said at the time.

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They added he had chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia – a rare type of blood cancer – that was not acute.

The billionaire media tycoon suffered several bouts of ill health in recent years, including contracting COVID in 2020.

After being discharged from a 10-day hospital stay, he said the disease had been “insidious” and was the most dangerous challenge he had ever faced.

He has had a pacemaker for years, underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2016 and had overcome prostate cancer.

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