(Rome) – Matteo Messina Denaro, the godfather of the Sicilian Mafia, who was arrested last January after 30 years on the run, died in a hospital in central Italy, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.
Matteo Messina Denaro, 61, who was one of the leaders of the Sicilian mafia Cosa Nostra, was suffering from colon cancer, which he was treated for while on the run. While going to a clinic in Palermo, the last living major Sicilian “capo”, wanted since 1993, was arrested.
This cruel killer was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the 1992 assassination of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
After his arrest, he was transferred to a high-security prison in L’Aquila, in Abruzzo, a region east of Rome, where he continued to receive medical treatment.
In August, Messina Denaro was transferred to the local hospital’s detention ward, where his condition deteriorated in recent days.
Last weekend, media reports announced that he had fallen into an “irreversible coma.” The doctors stopped feeding him and asked not to resuscitate him, according to the press.
His arrest may have brought relief to his victims, but the mafia leader always remained silent.
In interviews he has given since his arrest, Messina Denaro has denied being a member of Cosa Nostra.
The funeral is being prepared
After his disappearance in 1993, some believed that he had traveled abroad. He actually lived in a comfortable apartment near his hometown of Castelvetrano in western Sicily.
According to residents of Campobello di Mazara, he went out in broad daylight to have coffee at the local bar, order pizza and go shopping… He had false papers and pretended to be a doctor.
In 2015, Prosecutor Teresa Principato estimated that if he was able to evade police for a long period while traveling easily, it was only because he was protected “at a very high level,” without specifying the nature of this protection. “We have had confirmation of its presence in Brazil, Spain, Great Britain and Austria,” she was surprised.
The Corriere della Sera daily newspaper reported that preparations were being made to bury him in the family vault next to his father, Don Ciccio.
The latter was the head of the local mafia. He is said to have died of a heart attack while fleeing, after his body was left in the countryside dressed in funeral clothes.
For years, investigators combed the Sicilian countryside for Messina Denaro, looking for places to hide and eavesdropping on her family members and friends.
By intercepting one of their conversations about the medical problems of a person suffering from cancer and eye problems, investigators understood that he was a wanted mafia leader.
They used the Italian health system’s database to search for male patients with matching ages and medical histories, and eventually stopped it.
In July, an Italian court sentenced him to life imprisonment for his role in the 1992 assassination of judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
Thus, it confirmed the ruling in absentia that was issued in October 2020, when he was still on the run.
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