Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi Dead At 86

(Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP) (Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)

Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi died in Milan on Monday at the age of 86.

Berlusconi’s death comes after a recent spate of health issues, including a diagnosis of leukemia, CNN reported. He will be remembered as one of Italy’s most “colorful public figures,” after being elected to serve his home nation three times for a total of nine years in power. He was the longest serving prime minister in Italy’s history.

Berlusconi’s popularity with pollsters wasn’t marred by his seemingly endless criminal investigations, nor his outspoken party-like personality. One of the most recent examples of his quirky approach to communication included promises of a “bus full of sluts” for his soccer team, Monza. Berlusconi owned the club, and made the promise should they beat one of their top rivals back in December 2022.

He was also known for his alleged “bunga bunga” parties, which once featured a stripper dressed as former President Barack Obama. And he had a real affinity for women. He at one point went on trial for prostitution after allegations of an affair with then-17-year-old Moroccan belly dancer Karima El Mahroug. He was subsequently acquitted.

He famously referred to former president Barack Obama as “handsome, young and also suntanned” after his election in 2008.

His political legacy, however, is quite different. One resident in Rome told CNN that, “Berlusconi was a man, a politician that actually fought for Italy. Until the end, even while he was dying. The politicians that are leading today are finally doing that again, I think Berlusconi helped make that happen. But let’s see how long that lasts.”

Italy is currently run by its first female PM Giorgia Meloni, who appears to be continuing Berlusconi’s legacy of pro-Italy politicking. She shared a somber video Monday, mourning the loss of her former colleague.