Silvio Berlusconi, the controversial media mogul and three-time prime minister of Italy, passed away on Monday at the age of 86 from leukemia. Berlusconi had been dubbed “the immortal” for his longevity in politics. He was admitted to a hospital in Milan last Friday but stopped responding to his cancer treatment. He will have state funerals on Wednesday in the cathedral of Milan.
Berlusconi was one of the richest men in Italy, with a fortune estimated at 6.4 billion euros by Forbes. He was a great communicator and a convinced anti-communist, loved and hated with equal intensity. He invented a peculiar and imitated commercial television format in the 1980s and spent his last years in and out of the hospital.
Despite his scandals throughout his career, Berlusconi maintained his popularity among a part of the Italians. One of his many nicknames was the ‘Alligator’. He underwent numerous surgeries on his face to rejuvenate himself, used makeup to cover wrinkles, and was always accompanied by a noticeably younger girlfriend.
The political and sports world reacted to Berlusconi’s death. Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first heads of state to react to Berlusconi’s death, describing him as a “dear person” and a “true friend.” The head of the Italian government Giorgia Meloni praised in a video the “courage” and “determination” of her ally, whom she considered “one of the most influential men in the history of Italy.”
Berlusconi was entangled in lawsuits related to his controversial erotic feasts during his term as the prime minister, in which a minor of Moroccan origin participated, “Ruby robacorazones”, whom he used to introduce as the niece of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Due to this scandal, also known as “Rubygate,” he was subjected to three trials.
Berlusconi was famous for his private television channels, dotted with programs with almost naked women. He amassed millions with the real estate and financial sectors until he reached politics, seducing viewers and votes at the same time, although he did not manage to fulfill his greatest dream: that of becoming the president of the Republic.
Despite accumulating immense power, Berlusconi was always in the midst of controversy. He was the precursor of a style of millionaire politician that has been repeated worldwide, which ignores and disregards ethical and moral principles. Despite his passing, Berlusconi’s legacy continues to influence Italian politics and media.