Italy’s Most-Wanted Mafia Boss Matteo Messina Denaro Dies After Cancer Battle

Italian Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, who was arrested in January after spending 30 years on the run died on Monday, BBC reported. Denaro died at the San Salvatore hospital in L’Aquila, central Italy, where he had been treated for colon cancer. After his condition worsened in recent weeks, he was transferred to the hospital from the maximum-security prison in central Italy where he was initially held.

L’Aquila mayor Pierluigi Biondi confirmed the mobster’s death in a hospital “following a worsening of his illness”. His death “puts the end to a story of violence and blood”, Mr. Biondi told the ANSA news agency. It was ”the epilogue of an existence lived without remorse or repentance, a painful chapter of the recent history of our nation.” he added.

Denaro, who is thought to have ordered dozens of Mafia-related murders for the Cosa Nostra crime group, was convicted for his role in planning the 1992 murders of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino. He was also held responsible for bombings in Rome, Florence and Milan in 1993 that killed 10 people.

One of his six life sentences was for the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the 12-year-old son of a witness in the Falcone case.

Denaro, known as ‘The Last Godfather’ by the Italian press, once boasted he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims. He also oversaw racketeering, illegal waste dumping, money laundering and drug trafficking for the powerful Cosa Nostra organised crime syndicate. According to The Guardian, Messina Denaro’s immense wealth came from his investments in energy and refuse, successfully infiltrating the local government to get control of important building contracts.

He was also thought to be Cosa Nostra’s last “secret keeper”, as he held all the information and the names of those involved in several of the most high-profile crimes by the Mafia.

He never married, but was known to have a number of lovers, as per Sky News. 

As per AFP, the 61-year-old was on the run since 1993 as the Italian state cracked down on the Sicilian mob. He remained the top name on Italy’s most-wanted list and increasingly became a figure of legend. It was his decision to seek treatment for his cancer that led to his capture. He was caught outside a private clinic in Sicily’s capital, Palermo in January 2023.

Preparations are already underway for the mobster’s burial in the family tomb in the town, alongside his father, Don Ciccio, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

(This story has been published from a syndicated feed.)