Former Italian premier and business tycoon Silvio Berlusconi has died in Milan at the age of 86.
Politicians, sports icons and world leaders are paying tribute to the flamboyant figure who changed Italian politics and was widely known for his financial and sex scandals.
‘A true friend’: Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin called Berlusconi his “dear, wise friend”.
“For me, Silvio was a dear person, a true friend. I have always sincerely admired his wisdom, his ability to make balanced, visionary decisions even in the most difficult situations,” Putin said.
In October, according to a leaked recording, Berlusconi said he had reconnected with Putin, exchanging gifts of wine, vodka and “sweet” letters on his birthday.
Regarding the Ukraine war, Berlusconi suggested that Kiev was responsible for Russia’s February 2022 invasion and advised Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
‘Great Warrior’: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán
Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s popular prime minister, said in a tweet: “The great warrior is gone.”
The great warrior is gone. pic.twitter.com/vH6OgxbiE2
— Viktor Orban (@PM_ViktorOrban) June 12, 2023
‘A man who was not afraid’: Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni
Italy’s prime minister bid farewell to Berlusconi in a video message, saying “Berlusconi was above all a warrior.”
“He was a man who was not afraid to defend his beliefs, and it was precisely that courage and determination that made him one of the most influential men in Italian history,” Meloni said.
A Dio, Silvio. pic.twitter.com/hWiSNPCeia
— Georgia Meloney (@GeorgiaMeloney) June 12, 2023
‘A great Italian’: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini called Berlusconi “a great man and a great Italian”.
“Today a great Italian bids us farewell. The greatest of all time, in all respects, from all points of view, without equal. But above all I lost a great friend today. I’m devastated and I rarely cry, today is one of those days,” she said in a statement.
‘Many loved him, many hated him’: Former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi
Former Italian prime minister and leader of the liberal political party Italia Viva, Matteo Renzi, said in a tweet: “Silvio Berlusconi has made history in this country. Many loved him, many hated him.”
“Everyone today must admit that his impact on political but also economic, sports and television life was unprecedented,” he added.
Fatto la storia in the question of Silvio Berlusconi Pace. Tanti lo Hanno Amato, Tanti lo Hanno Odiato: tutti ogi devonno reconnocere che il suo impato sulla vita politico ma anche economica, sportiva, televisiva è stato senza presidenti. Oggi l’Italia piange insieme alla famiglia,…
— Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) June 12, 2023
‘End of an era’: Italy’s defense minister Guido Crosetto
Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said Berlusconi’s death left a huge void because he was great.
“An era is ending, an era is ending,” he added.
A great, great dolore.
Lascia un vuoto enorme perché è stato un grande.
È finita un’epoca, si chiude un’era.
Gli ho voluto molto bene.
— Guido Crosetto (@GuidoCrosetto) June 12, 2023
‘An ironic, loyal, intelligent, sincere man’: Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti
Real Madrid Football Club manager Carlo Ancelotti said: “Today’s sadness does not erase the happy moments spent together. Infinite gratitude remains to the President, but above all to an ironic, loyal, intelligent, sincere man, who was fundamental in my adventure first as a football player and then as a coach.”
Ancelotti won the Champions League as coach of AC Milan when the club was owned by Berlusconi.
La tristezza di oggi, non cancella i momenti felici passati insieme. Rimane una riconoscenza infinita al Presidente, ma soprato ad un uomo ironico, leale, intelligent, sincerero, fondamentale nella mia avventura da calciatore prima, e da allenatore poi. Grazie is the president. pic.twitter.com/aRLSxxzUVz
— Carlo Ancelotti (@MrAncelotti) June 12, 2023
‘Not to be forgotten’: European Parliament President Roberta Metzola
European Parliament President Roberta Metzola referred to Berlusconi as “the warrior who led the centre-right and who has been the hero of Italian and European politics for generations”.
“Father, entrepreneur, MEP, Prime Minister, Senator. He left his mark and will not be forgotten. Thanks Silvio,” he said in a tweet.
Silvio Berlusconi: IL Combattente che ha guidato il centro-destra e che è stato protagonista della politica in Italia e in Europea per generaziones.
Padre, imprenditore, eurodeputato, Presidente del Consiglio, senatore. Ha lascito il segno e non sarà dimenticato.
Grazie Silvio. pic.twitter.com/jSoiJUmyc3
— Roberta Metsola (@RobertaMetsola) June 12, 2023
‘Enthusiastic Politician’: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Italy has lost a great personality.”
“He was the first Italian Prime Minister I worked with and I will remember him as a striking and passionate politician,” he said in a tweet.
With the death of Silvio Berlusconi, Italy has lost a stalwart figure. He was the first Italian Prime Minister I worked with and I will remember him as a striking and passionate politician. I offer my condolences @Georgia Meloney On behalf of the Dutch government.
— Mark Root (@minpress) June 12, 2023
‘A good friend’: Former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa
A former prime minister of Slovenia, Janez Jansa, offered his condolences to the Italian leader, referring to him as “a good friend of Slovenia”.
Its founder and leader was Silvio Berlusconi@Forza_Italiaand Italy’s longest-serving prime minister. 🇸🇮 is always a good friend for. Condolences to his family and loved ones. 🕯🕯🕯 pic.twitter.com/jbXMxHFccR
— Janez Jansa (@JJansaSDS) June 12, 2023
‘Unforgettable’: AC Milan
AC Milan, the football club Berlusconi owned from 1986 to 2017, described the 86-year-old as “unforgettable” and said they were “deeply saddened”.
“Tomorrow, we will dream new ambitions, create new challenges and seek new victories. Which will represent the good, the strong and the true within us, those of us who share this adventure of tying our lives to the dream called Milan,” the club said on Twitter.
Ac milan profundamente addolorato pionge la scomparsa dell’indimenticabile silvio berlusconi ec string con affetto alla famiglia, ai associate et agli amici peu cari.
“Domani sognremo altri tragardi, inventaremo altri sfide, sercheremo altri vittori. What a lovely… pic.twitter.com/CWmYy8xzwi
— AC Milan (@acmilan) June 12, 2023
“Charming and engaging company”: former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen offered condolences to Berlusconi and said that despite their political differences, on a personal level, “he was always charming and engaging company.”
I am saddened to learn of the death of Silvio Berlusconi.
I worked closely with him both as Prime Minister and Secretary General.
We had our political differences but on a personal level, he was always interesting and engaging company.
All my thoughts are with his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/j9SQV83Oog
— Anders Fogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) June 12, 2023