Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, nicknamed “the immortal” for his longevity in politics, was in “stable” condition on Thursday the day after his hospitalization but he has chronic leukemia and a lung infection.
Mr Berlusconi “is currently in intensive care treating a lung infection”. This infection is part of “chronic myelomonocytic leukemia which he has suffered from for some time”, explained the doctors in a press release.
They thus confirmed information previously given by the Corriere della Sera, the main Italian daily.
“We are all very concerned. I hope he will have the strength to resist this last blow which has a sinister name, leukaemia,” said Deputy Culture Minister Vittorio Sgarbi, a friend of Silvio Berlusconi.
The 86-year-old media mogul and senator, who has been in and out of hospital in recent years, was admitted to the cardiology unit of San Raffaele Hospital in Milan on Wednesday with respiratory problems.
“Let’s hope the lion comes back to lead the party soon, he never gives up. He is the leader of our party,” said Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, number 2 of the conservative Forza Italia party, a member of the ruling coalition.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Tajani said he had spoken to Mr Berlusconi’s doctor and that his condition was “stable”. He said the senator had called leaders of his party on the phone.
According to the Ansa news agency citing sources around him, the octogenarian began chemotherapy on Wednesday to treat his leukemia.
Thursday morning, several members of his family, the only ones authorized to see him, went to the hospital located in the suburbs of the Lombard capital, in particular his brother Paolo, his eldest daughter Marina and his youngest son Luigi.
“Berlusconi is an old timer, in my opinion the weed is still growing. He will get out of it, ”commented, confident, Massimo Strano, a 62-year-old employee, who went to San Raffaele hospital.
Silvio Berlusconi was rushed to the facility on Wednesday after complaining of breathing difficulties. He had low blood oxygen levels.
Last month, the billionaire had already spent four days in the same hospital, one of the most prestigious on the peninsula, for what Italian media called heart problems. He got out a week ago.
“I have already started to work again (…) (I am) ready and determined to commit myself, as I have always done, for the country that I love,” he said in a broadcast message. Friday on social media.
On Sunday, he posted a picture of himself smiling in front of a sprawling bed of tulips at his lavish villa in Arcore in northern Italy.
After dominating Italian politics for decades, Silvio Berlusconi now appears physically diminished during his rare public appearances.
The days of his infamous erotic “bunga bunga” parties with young starlets are well and truly over.
Forza Italia, credited with less than 10% in the polls, is part of the right-wing and far-right government coalition of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who on Wednesday tweeted to his ally his “sincere and affectionate wishes for a speedy recovery” .
Mr Berlusconi entered politics in 1994 and, for millions of Italians, he represents the golden age of the Italian economy. Despite a series of sex scandals and court cases that tarnished his image, he has held a special place in the hearts of many Italians ever since.