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Italy“s Berlusconi spends second night in hospital, friends hopeful

2023-04-07T08:35:58Z

Forza Italia party leader Silvio Berlusconi looks on at a polling station during the snap election, in Milan, Italy, September 25, 2022. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/File Photo

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi spent a second night calmly in the intensive care unit of Milan’s San Raffaele hospital and is reacting positively to treatment, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said on Friday.

The 86-year-old billionaire media tycoon was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday, heightening concerns over his fragile health.

He has suffered from chronic blood cancer for some time and is in intensive care for a lung infection, his doctors said on Thursday.

Tajani, a long-time ally of the four-time prime minister, told RAI state television that he had spoken to Berlusconi’s personal doctor Alberto Zangrillo and the picture seemed more reassuring.

“(Zangrillo) told me he had a good sleep, that he is under intensive care and is reacting positively to the treatment,” Tajani said.

“This gives us reason to be optimistic. (Berlusconi) is a lion and is also physically strong. We want to be optimistic.”

Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party is part of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing coalition, though he does not have a direct role in her government.

In Forza Italia, “we are all working and following the course of the disease with friendship and love. I hope he can recover as soon as possible,” Tajani said.

Meloni and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Thursday they had spoken to Berlusconi by telephone.

Forza Italia said Berlusconi had also spoken to some senior party officials.

“It was the best phone call I could have received,” said Salvini, who is leader of the anti-immigrant League party.

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