UPDATED: Berlusconi discharged from hospital after 45 days

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MILAN, May 19 (Reuters) – Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was discharged from Milan’s San Raffaele hospital on Friday, more than 40 days after his admission to treat a lung infection linked to chronic leukaemia.

Berlusconi, 86, was rushed to hospital on April 5 and remained in intensive care for more than 10 days, triggering speculation that his life might be in danger and drawing a stream of family and friends to his bedside.

The SkyTG24 TV news channel showed footage of Berlusconi being driven away in a black limousine, and a source from his conservative Forza Italia party confirmed that the politician had left the San Raffaele.

After his hospitalisation, doctors said that Berlusconi is suffering from Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukaemia (CML). They did not specify when the cancer was first spotted, saying only that it was not acute.

Berlusconi’s health has deteriorated in recent years. He had heart surgery in 2016, and has been repeatedly admitted to hospital since contracting COVID-19 three years ago.

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

This month, Berlusconi sent two video messages from the hospital to his party members and supporters. He told a Forza Italia conference that he was ready to return to work.

Last week, he received visits from his two key political allies, Meloni and Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who both said he was recovering and was in a “good mood”.

There is no designated heir to replace Berlusconi at the helm of Forza Italia, and it was far from clear if the group could stick hold together without his leadership.

Photo: Silvio Berlusconi leaves the San Raffaele hospital after a 45-day of hospitalization, in Milan, northern Italy, 19 May 2023. The 86-year-old media magnate and ex-premier was admitted to hospital on 05 April for a lung infection linked to a previously undisclosed case of chronic leukaemia. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI

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