ROME (AP) — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi is alert and in stable condition on his second day in intensive care at a Milan hospital, a top political aide said Thursday, citing an update from the media mogul's main doctor.
“I spoke this morning with Professor (Alberto) Zangrillo. He told me that Premier Berlusconi spent the night quietly,'' said Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, who is the coordinator of Forza Italia, the political party that Berlusconi created some 30 years ago. “His condition is stable,” Tajani said, interviewed on Italian state television.
A statement from Forza Italia said Berlusconi on Thursday morning had telephoned several party officials about political matters.
Zangrillo, Berlusconi's longtime physician, is a chief anesthesiologist at San Raffaele hospital, where his patient is being treated. Only a week earlier, Berlusconi had left the same hospital, after several days of tests.
Meanwhile family members continued to visit Berlusconi. Spotted arriving at the hospital were his brother, Paolo, his eldest daughter, Marina, and his younger son, Luigi.
On Wednesday, shortly after Berlusconi was admitted to the hospital, Tajani said the former three-time premier is suffering from a respiratory problem stemming from a previous infection.
The last years have seen Berlusconi, who is 86, suffer numerous health problems, including heart ailments and COVID-19 in 2020, which saw him hospitalized then in critical condition with pneumonia.
His brother made no comment upon arriving at the hospital Thursday morning. But when he left the hospital the night before, Paolo Berlusconi said of his brother: “He's a rock. Thus, he'll make it this time, too.”
The former three-time premier and now senator has had a pacemaker for years, underwent heart surgery to replace an aortic valve in 2016 and overcame prostate cancer decades ago.
On March 31, Berlusconi tweeted when he left the hospital after a battery of tests that he was “ready and determined to commit myself as I’ve always done to the country I love.”
Tajani said: “We all want to be optimistic. We hope that the lion returns to guide the party, which has no factions but only one leader.”
With no political heir apparent despite Berlusconi's multiple health setbacks, Forza Italia has seen its popularity at the polls slump to a fraction of what it enjoyed years ago, when voters helped to repeatedly propel him into the premiership despite his legal woes.
Among the messages for a quick recovery was one from Premier Giorgia Meloni, who tweeted "Forza Silvio,” riffing off the soccer chant that Berlusconi turned into the name of his political party, which is currently one of two junior coalition partners in Meloni's nearly six-month-old right-wing government.
On Wednesday, during a Senate confidence roll-call vote when Berlusconi's name was called and an official said “absent,” a round of applause erupted from across the political spectrum in Parliament's upper chamber.
Berlusconi's senate seat is fruit of his latest political comeback, in September general elections, a decade after he was banned from holding public office over a tax fraud conviction stemming from dealings in his media empire.
In recent months, he has triggered uproar with comments about his old friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin, boasting that the two had exchanged birthday greetings and blaming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for the war. Meloni's far-right Brothers of Italy party of Meloni is staunchly in favor of military aid for Ukraine. Earlier this week, Tajani insisted that Berlusconi is committed to a peaceful solution to the war.
Luca Bruno in Milan contributed to this report.