Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is being treated in intensive care because of a problem related to a previous infection but is alert and speaking, Italy’s foreign minister said.
The 86-year-old three-time premier is in the ICU at Milan’s San Raffaele hospital, the clinic where he routinely receives care, said Antonio Tajani, who is also a leader of Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.
Speaking in Brussels, Mr Tajani said Mr Berlusconi was admitted because of an “unresolved problem” related to a previous infection.
He told reporters after being discharged from a 10-day hospital stay that the disease had been “insidious” and was the most dangerous challenge he had faced.
He has had a pacemaker for years, underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2016 and has overcome prostate cancer.
Mr Berlusconi had been to San Raffaele, where his personal doctor works, for a regular check-up for several days last week.
In a March 31 tweet after he returned home, Mr Berlusconi thanked “all those who wanted to send a thought or sign of affection in these days”.
He said he was already back at work “ready and determined to commit myself as I’ve always done to the country I love”.
That election brought a hard right-led government to power, with Mr Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party a junior member of a government headed by Premier Giorgia Meloni.
Mr Berlusconi remains at the helm of Forza Italia, the centre-right party he created when he jumped into politics in the early 1990s, though the day-to-day running of the party has been left to others.
Most recently he has made waves with a handful of comments about his old friend and Russian president Vladimir Putin, boasting that the two had exchanged birthday greetings and blaming Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky for the war.
Mr Berlusconi’s comments have upset the pro-Ukraine Meloni government, though just this week his top Forza Italia ally, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, insisted that Mr Berlusconi is committed to a peaceful solution to the war.
In January 2022, Mr Berlusconi withdrew his name from consideration to be Italy’s president.