Italian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who was convicted of multiple murders and was arrested in January after spending 30 years on the run, has died of cancer, officials said on Monday.
Messina Denaro, 61, was suffering from cancer of the colon at the time of his arrest. As his condition worsened in recent weeks, he was transferred to a hospital from the maximum-security jail in central Italy where he was initially held.
He fell into a coma on Friday and never regained consciousness.
“You shouldn’t deny prayers to anyone, but I can’t say I am sorry,” Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Instagram.
Messina Denaro was found guilty of numerous crimes, including helping plan the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino — crimes that shocked Italy and sparked a crackdown on the Sicilian mob.
He was also held responsible for bombings in Rome, Florence and Milan in 1993 that killed 10 people, as well as helping organise the kidnapping of Giuseppe Di Matteo, 12, to dissuade the boy’s father from giving evidence against the mafia. The boy was held for two years, then murdered.