Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 86 now, is being treated for a type of chronic leukaemia after being admitted on Wednesday in intensive care to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital. He had begun chemotherapy and is reacting well. Doctors confirmed he has been suffering from leukaemia for some time. “The current treatment strategy envisions treatment of the pulmonary infection” as well as specialized treatment “aimed at limiting the negative effects” of the chronic leukemia, a hospital bulletin stated. His illness has raised questions about the future of his political party and about the future of the Berlusconi business empire. Earlier Thursday, a close political ally, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, quoting Zangrillo, reported that Berlusconi was alert and in stable condition at the hospital. Berlusconi’s family members have visited him in hospital.
Berlusconi led three Italian governments between 1994 and 2011. In 2016, he had surgery to replace a faulty aortic valve after he has had a pacemaker for years. He also had Covid-19 in September 2020. Berlusconi returned to frontline politics in 2022 when he won a seat in Italy’s Senate. “We all want to be optimistic and we hope that the lion will return soon to take charge of the party,” Italian Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani told RAI state television.