Italy declares national day of mourning after Silvio Berlusconi dies at 86

Italy has declared a national day of mourning for Wednesday, when former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's funeral will be held, a government spokesman said on Monday, News.Az reports citing The Local.

"The government has declared a national day of mourning for June 14th," while all Italian and European flags on public buildings will be lowered to half mast from Monday nationwide, the spokesman told AFP.

Berlusconi died in hospital following a battle with leukaemia, his spokesman confirmed on Monday morning.

Berlusconi had been admitted to Milan's San Raffaele Hospital on Friday for what aides had said were pre-planned tests related to his leukemia.

The 86-year-old billionaire media mogul had been discharged three weeks earlier following a six-week stay at the hospital, during which time doctors revealed he had a rare type of blood cancer.

He was to have a state funeral in Milan's cathedral, the local diocese said earlier on Monday.

"Silvio Berlusconi's state funeral will take place on Wednesday June 14 in the Milan Duomo," the diocese in the northern Italian city said on its website.

Berlusconi had suffered ill health for years, from heart surgery in 2016 to a 2020 hospitalisation for coronavirus. Despite being re-elected to the Senate last year, he was rarely seen in public.

But he remained the official head of his right-wing Forza Italia party, the smallest of three parties in Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's coalition government.

As Berlusconi's body was moved from the hospital to Villa San Martino, and flags were lowered to half mast on all public buildings, tributes came from in from international leaders.


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