Italy’s ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi died at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital on Monday aged 86. His brother Paolo and his children Marina, Eleonora, Barbara and Pier Silvio are all at the hospital where the leader of Forza Italia was admitted on Friday.
Former premier and ex-European central banker Mario Draghi paid homage on Monday to the “extraordinary initiative and innovation” of Silvio Berlusconi, who died earlier today aged 86.
“I express the most heartfelt condolences for the death of Silvio Berlusconi, an absolute protagonist of Italian public life in the last fifty years,” said Draghi.
“As an entrepreneur he revolutionised the world of communication and sports, with extraordinary initiative and innovation. As a leader he transformed politics and was loved by millions of Italians for his humanity and charisma. Deepest condolences go to his family, the employees of his group, and the Forza Italia community,” he continued.
Day of national mourning for Berlusconi funeral
Cabinet Undersecretary Alfredo Mantovano proclaimed a day of national mourning to coincide with the state funeral of former premier and centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi on Wednesday.
Italian and European flags are also to be flown at half-mast on all public buildings in Italy and on all diplomatic and consular buildings abroad from Monday until Wednesday.
Berlusconi returned to the Milan hospital less than a month after spending 45 days there for treatment for a lung infection related to the leukaemia, including 16 days in intensive care. It was reportedly for scheduled tests for his previously undisclosed chronic leukaemia.
When Berlusconi died, it made instant headlines all over the world.
‘Ruby’ sends farewell to ‘president’
Karima El Mahroug, an Italo-Moroccan woman and former exotic dancer and underage prostitute known as Ruby Heartstealer, on Monday wrote “Farewell President” over an image of a broken heart.
Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of paying her for sex before being subsequently cleared. The appeal judges ruled he could not have known how young she was.
Berlusconi once got his parliamentary majority to back his claim that El Mahroug was the niece or granddaughter of former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak. He had had to have her sprung from a Milan police station in order to avoid a diplomatic incident.
El Mahroug and another 26 young women who attended Berlusconi’s ‘bunga bunga’ parties were recently acquitted, on a technicality, of falsely backing the late premier’s claim that his soirees were elegant and innocent affairs.
Forza Italia (FI), the centre-right party founded by Silvio Berlusconi shortly before the first of his terms as premier in 1994 has a duty to go on his long-time No 2 Antonio Tajani said. Tajani i currently the deputy prime minister, in the centre-right coalition government.
Forza Italia “must go on”
“We have a duty, as Forza Italia, to go ahead, even though we are wounded,” said Tajani in Washington shortly before heading back early to Italy.
“We will do so still under his moral and spiritual leadership and we will continue to work in the path marked out by him.
“Destiny has put me here today, in the United States, at Arlington cemetery, a place that sums up Silvio Berlusconi’s human and political career, a place that testifies to the value of freedom”.