Silvio Berlusconi, Former Populist Prime Minister, Dead at 86 – A Homage to His Controversial Legacy

by Stephanie Yankova

Silvio Berlusconi, one of the most controversial Italian figures and former prime minister, dies at 86. The scandalous billionaire and media mogul was committed at Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital and treated for a lung infection amidst his battle with leukemia. In honor of his remarkable life, let’s look at some of his most notable achievements that left an undeniable mark on Italy, and the world as a whole!

The Early Years of Silvio Berlusconi

1977 silvio berlusconi former prime minister italy media mogul dead 86

Berlusconi’s career began long before he became Prime Minister of Italy. Prior to stepping into politics, he established himself as a renowned businessman. His first professional endeavors were in the construction industry in the 60s. His first project was Milano Due (Milan Two) – a residential center in the heart of Segrate. Silvio Berlusconi’s construction company was met with huge success, the profits of which helped boost another one of his successful ventures!

In 1973 Berlusconi laid the foundations of his cable television company called TeleMilano. A pioneer for its time, TeleMilano became the first Italian private TV channel, which was later known as Canale 5  – the first national private television station.

5 years after the establishment of his TV company, Silvio Berlusconi founded his very first media group – Fininvest. While it remains unknown to this day where the funding for this project came from, it goes without saying that the media group was another great success! It wasn’t long after its establishment in 1978 when Fininvest became a country-wide network of local television stations.

The Political Reign and Fall of Silvio Berlusconi

silvio berlusconi former prime minister italy dead age 86


A year before selling a portion of his media group shares in 1995, Silvio Berlusconi entered the world of politics and quickly became a figure of interest for the Italians. In 1994, he was chosen as Prime Minister of Italy as a leader of his liberal-conservative party Forza Italia, focused on defeating the communists. However, his cabinet collapsed only nine months after being appointed and in 1996 he was defeated and replaced by Romano Prodi.

In 2001 Silvio Berlusconi returned to the position of Italy’s Prime Minister and his government became the longest-serving one in the country since WW II.

After losing the elections in 2006, Berlusconi became Prime Minister for the third time in 2008.

In 2011, after suffering the loss of his parliamentary majority, Silvio Berlusconi stepped down from the position of Prime Minister of Italy.

Berlusconi’s Scandal-Ridden Life

silvio berlusconi former prime minister italy billionaire media mogul tragic dead age 86

Apart from his political and corporate success, Silvio Berlusconi was no stranger to controversy. After losing the elections to Prodi in 2006, Berlusconi stood trial for money embezzlement, tax fraud, and false accounting. In 2013, after a 4-year trial, Berlusconi was found guilty on the charges of underage prostitution and abuse of office. He was sentenced to 7 years in prison and later that year Berlusconi was expelled from the Italian Senate.

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