Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was diagnosed with leukemia while in hospital

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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been diagnosed with leukemia, multiple media reported, after the 86-year-old media billionaire was hospitalized in intensive care earlier this week after suffering from shortness of breath.

Basic facts

News of Berlusconi’s diagnosis was first reported by Italian newspaper Corriere della Serra and confirmed by media outlets including Reuters and Sky News, citing unnamed sources.

Berlusconi’s spokesman, Paolo Russo, did not deny CNN’s report, saying he “doesn’t have the right to report health information, but Corriere della Sera is the most authoritative Italian newspaper.”

Berlusconi was hospitalized in intensive care earlier this week, according to media reports on Wednesday, which said he was in stable condition in a cardiology unit after suffering asphyxiation.

Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani told state RAI television on Thursday that he had spoken to Berlusconi’s doctor and “he told me that Berlusconi had a restful night, his condition is stable,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

Berlusconi has suffered a number of health problems in recent years, including undergoing heart surgery in 2016 and being hospitalized with a serious case of Covid-19, for which he was also re-hospitalized in April 2021 after suffering long-term effects from the virus.

crucial quote

“He is a rock, so he will make it this time,” Berlusconi’s brother Paolo told reporters on Wednesday after leaving the hospital, Reuters reports.

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As of Thursday morning, Berlusconi and his family are worth an estimated $7 billion, based on holdings in his media empire Finvest and media, publishing and banking companies. His wealth is shared between him and his five children.

Basic background

Having founded his Finvest media group in the late 1970s, Berlusconi served as Italy’s prime minister from 2004 to 2011 and led the state’s Forza Italia party. His tenure in politics has been marred by numerous scandals, including his “bunga bunga” parties, allegations of tax fraud, and soliciting sex from a minor. His conviction for tax fraud also led to his being barred from public office in 2013, although that ban was eventually lifted in 2018, and he was subsequently elected to the European Parliament in 2019 and the Italian Parliament last year. Berlusconi has also recently courted controversy for speaking out in favor of Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the war with Ukraine, saying in February that he believed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was responsible for the war and the pushback from Kiev.

Further reading

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was hospitalized, reports Forbes.

Former Italian PM Berlusconi has leukemia, source says (Reuters)

Silvio Berlusconi and family (Forbes)

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