Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi dies at 86
Post created on 4:25 pm
Billionaire media tycoon and four-time Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi has died aged 86.
He died at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan.
Berlusconi had been admitted to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital on Friday for what aides said were pre-planned tests related to leukemia. His admission came just three weeks after he was discharged following a six-week stay at San Raffaele hospital, during which time doctors revealed he had a rare type of blood cancer.
His death was announced on June 12 by Italian media.
He was born on September 29, 1936, the first of three children raised in a middle-class family in Milan, Italy’s financial capital. Like many of his generation, he was evacuated during World War II and lived with his mother in a village some distance from the city.
The handsome and genial youth made his first money selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, and occasionally singing in nightclubs and cruise ships with his friend Fedele Confalonieri, who would remain his loyal business partner to the very end.
After graduating in law in 1961, Berlusconi began a career in construction, establishing himself as a residential housing developer in the Milan area. He got his big break at the start of the 1970s with the construction of Milano 2, a self-contained town his Edilnord company built in the suburbs, soon to be followed by its twin, Milano 3.
Berlusconi made his fortune in real estate before going on to build Italy’s biggest media empire, Mediaset, which he later enlisted to facilitate his swashbuckling entry into politics.
He led the centre-right Forza Italia party which entered a coalition under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni after elections in September.
His political career was fraught with scandals, including the tax fraud which banned him from holding political office for two years.