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Ex-Italy PM Silvio Berlusconi ‘diagnosed with blood cancer’ after hospital dash

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The Forza Italia leader is having intensive therapy to restore correct blood oxygenation following a shocking diagnosis of leukaemia

President of the Forza Italia party Silvio Berlusconi

President of the Forza Italia party Silvio Berlusconi

Italy’s former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has been diagnosed with leukaemia following a hospital admission yesterday.

He was hospitalised because of pneumonia, which arose following what Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper says was a diagnosis of leukaemia.

The 86-year-old was admitted to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital on Wednesday with heart problems and shortness of breath.

Leukaemia is a cancer of the blood cells, meaning your body makes some abnormal blood cells which behave differently from healthy blood cells.

The Forza Italia leader is having intensive therapy to restore correct blood oxygenation, Corriere della Sera reports.

Pneumonia is common during induction chemotherapy for acute leukaemia.

Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian prime minister and leader of Forza Italia’ party
(
SCALZO/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Berlusconi is alert and in stable condition on his second day in intensive care at a Milan hospital, a top political aide said Thursday, citing an update from the media mogul’s main doctor.

“I spoke this morning with Professor (Alberto) Zangrillo. He told me that Premier Berlusconi spent the night quietly,” said Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who is the coordinator of Forza Italia, the political party that Berlusconi created some 30 years ago.

“His condition is stable,” Tajani said, interviewed on Italian state television.

Berlusconi is one of Italy’s most controversial contemporary leaders and has been in and out of hospitals in recent years.

Berlusconi was prime minister three times between 1994 and 2011, but it was his lavish sex parties that were so infamous.

He coined the term “bunga bunga” to describe the debauched soirees he would throw at his private villa, where young women reportedly stripped for him.

Last month he was acquitted of bribing witnesses to lie about his notorious parties.

In his various court cases, he continually denied wrongdoing and accused prosecutors of pursuing a political vendetta against him.

He insisted the parties, described by some as “orgies”, were actually elegant dinner parties.

He was also temporarily barred from political office over his conviction for tax fraud. He has had over 20 separate trials, most of them on corruption, embezzlement and bribery charges.

He once referred to former US President Barack Obama as “sun-tanned” and said it was “better” to like girls than be gay.

Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party is part of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing coalition, but he does not have a role in government.

“Sincere and affectionate wishes for a speedy recovery to Silvio Berlusconi. Forza Silvio (Come on Silvio)”, Ms Meloni wrote on social media.

Meanwhile, family members continued to visit Berlusconi. Spotted arriving at the hospital were his brother, Paolo, his eldest daughter, Marina, and his younger son, Luigi.

Paolo Berlusconi said of his brother: “He’s a rock. Thus, he’ll make it this time, too.”

The former three-time premier and now senator has had a pacemaker for years, underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2016 and overcame prostate cancer decades ago.

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