Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian Prime Minister and media magnate who dominated the country’s politics and culture for more than two decades, has died at 86.
He passed away at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan on June 12, 2023, where he had been receiving treatment for a lung infection related to chronic leukaemia.
Berlusconi was a controversial and charismatic figure who rose from humble beginnings to become one of Italy’s richest men and most influential leaders.
He founded Mediaset, Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster, and owned AC Milan football club for 31 years, leading them to glory on the European stage.
He also created Forza Italia, a centre-right political party that won three general elections between 1994 and 2008.
Berlusconi was known for his lavish lifestyle, his scandalous affairs, and his numerous legal battles over corruption, tax fraud, and sex crimes.
He was convicted of tax fraud in 2012 and banned from holding public office until 2018, when he made a comeback as a member of the European Parliament and a senator in Italy’s ruling coalition.
Berlusconi was married twice and had five children. He also underwent heart surgery in 2016 and contracted Covid-19 in 2020.
AC Milan paid tribute to their former owner on their website, saying: “Thank you, Mr. President. Always with us.”
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s deputy prime minister, said: “A great friend and a great Italian man said goodbye to us today. I ask for a minute of silence for Silvio Berlusconi.”