Type to search

Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian premier, dies at 86


Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s longest-serving prime minister, has died.

Berlusconi was a fl amboyant and sometimes controversial media mogul who “transformed the nation’s politics with polarizing policies and often alarmed his allies with his brazen remarks,” the Reuters news agency reported.

He died June 12 at a hospital in Milan, surrounded by his family. He was 86.

He waded into Italian politics in 1994, backed by his billions and his media empire. He served as prime minister four times in the ensuing decades. His last term as premier was from 2008-2011.

He rather famously declined to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, saying Moscow only wanted to put “decent people” in charge.

When word of Berlusconi’s death spread, Putin responded that Berlusconi was a “true friend.”

Enrico Letta, a former prime minister, wrote on Twitter: “Berlusconi made the history of our country. His death marks one of those moments in which everyone, whether or not they backed his choices, feels affected.”

Mario Draghi, another former premier, responded that Berlusconi “transformed politics and was loved by millions of Italians for his humanity and charisma.” Berlusconi was convicted of tax fraud in 2013, and banned from holding public office for five years.

Stay up-to-date with our free email newsletter

Keep a pulse on local food, art, and entertainment content when you join our Italian-American Herald Newsletter.