Matteo Messina Denaro, the “last godfather” of the Sicilian mafia who was accused of orchestrating some of the most heinous crimes perpetrated by the Cosa Nostra, has died after a long illness.
The national news agency Ansa announced his death overnight on Sunday. The mayor of the central Italian city of L’Aquila, Pierluigi Biondi, confirmed Denaro’s death in hospital “following a worsening of his illness”.
His death “puts the end to a story of violence and blood”, Biondi said, thanking prison and hospital staff for their “professionalism and humanity”. It was “the epilogue of an existence lived without remorse or repentance, a painful chapter of the recent history of our nation”.
In January, Denaro, 61, who had been in hiding since 1993, was apprehended in a private clinic in Palermo, where he had been periodically receiving treatment for a tumour under the false name of Andrea Bonafede.
In August, he was moved from the maximum-security prison in L’Aquila and admitted to the city’s San Salvatore hospital, as his health had deteriorated and was “not compatible” with the tough jail regime he was being held under, his lawyer, Alessandro Cerella, said.