Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian PM who bounced back from sex scandals and corruption allegations, has died aged 86.
He died at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, according to Italian media.
In April, Berlusconi was treated for a lung infection linked to a previously undisclosed case of chronic leukaemia.
A flamboyant billionaire media tycoon, Berlusconi first came to office in 1994 and led four governments until 2011.
He led the centre-right Forza Italia party which went into coalition under Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni after elections in September, when he was elected to Italy’s upper house, the Senate.
Reacting to the news, Italy’s Defence Minister Guido Crosetto said Berlusconi’s death left a “huge void”.
“An era is over… Farewell Silvio,” Mr Crosetto wrote in a tweet, adding that he “loved” Berlusconi “very much”.
The former leader had been suffering from a rare form of blood cancer, chronic myelomonocyte leukaemia, doctors at San Raffaele told reporters earlier this year.
So far, there has been no official confirmation of the immediate cause of death. He has had repeated health problems since contracting Covid in 2020.
Born in 1936 in Milan, Berlusconi began his career selling vacuum cleaners, before setting up a construction company.
He went on to become one of Italy’s richest men, making his fortune through his TV channels.
He gained international recognition as the owner of legendary football club AC Milan – which he saved from bankruptcy in 1986 – before going into politics.