(Milan) The ex-head of the Italian government Silvio Berlusconi, octogenarian in declining health, was hospitalized in intensive care on Wednesday in Milan for heart problems.

Silvio Berlusconi, 86, is in a cardiac surgery unit at San Raffaele hospital in Milan (north), a source close to him told AFP, confirming information from Italian media.

According to the Ansa news agency, he was hospitalized in the morning and his condition is “currently stable”.

Silvio Berlusconi, whose right-wing Forza Italia party belongs to the coalition supporting the government of Giorgia Meloni, has recently increased hospital stays, the last dating back to last week, officially for check-ups.

In April 2021, the billionaire had been hospitalized for more than three weeks for “sequelae of COVID-19” which he had contracted in September 2020.

Silvio Berlusconi notably underwent major open-heart surgery in 2016, then an operation for intestinal obstruction in the spring of 2019.

Le Cavaliere continues to be a central figure in Italian politics, even though his party is now below 10% of voting intentions in the polls. He became a senator again after the last legislative elections.

The philorussian statements of the media magnate, friend of Vladimir Putin, regularly embarrass Giorgia Meloni and his government.

Entering politics in 1994, Berlusconi served as prime minister for a total of nine years and dominated his country’s politics for two decades, despite sex scandals and court cases that tarnished his image.

For millions of Italians, it represents a golden age of the transalpine economy. The Berlusconi family company, Fininvest, includes television channels (Mediaset), newspapers and Mondadori publishing.

Passionate about football, he also chaired AC Milan for 31 years before selling the club in 2017 to Chinese investors.

In August 2013, he was sentenced definitively for the first time: his four-year prison sentence for tax evasion, three of which were waived by an amnesty, had been confirmed by the Court of Cassation and he had served it on year after in the form of work of general interest, losing in passing his title of Cavaliere.

Father of five children from two marriages and several times a grandfather, this extraordinary character found a new companion in 2020: Marta Fascina, 53 years his junior, former model and deputy of Forza Italia.