Matteo Messina Denaro, the boss of the Sicilian Mafia, dubbed “The Devil,” passed away in a hospital, the mayor of a central Italian town confirmed on Monday.
Denaro, who had been on the run for 30 years, was captured in January and had been undergoing treatment for colon cancer while in a high-security prison in L’Aquila. However, his condition worsened last month, and he was transferred to the hospital.
L’Aquila Mayor Pierluigi Biondi confirmed that the mobster’s death in the hospital followed “a worsening of his illness” in a statement to the ANSA news agency, which had earlier broken the news.
Biondi said that Messina Denaro’s death “puts the end to a story of violence and blood.” He also thanked the 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,” he said.
Messina Denaro, a ruthless boss in Cosa Nostra, was convicted of the murder of anti-Mafia judge Giovanni Falcone in 1992 and bombings in Rome, Florence, and Milan in 1993.
He was also sentenced to life for kidnapping and murdering the 12-year-old son of a witness in the Falcone case.
Messina Denaro disappeared in 1993 and spent 30 years on the run as Italy fought against the Sicilian mob but he remained a top name on Italy’s most-wanted list, AFP reported.
The ruthless mafia boss was arrested on January 16, 2023, while seeking cancer treatment at a hospital in Palermo. and was initially held in L’Aquila, where he continued his treatment, but was transferred to a hospital in August under strict security.
As Denaro had requested no aggressive medical treatment, doctors had stopped feeding him after he was declared to be in an “irreversible coma” on Friday, Italian media reported.
Despite his arrest, which brought some relief to his victims, the mob boss maintained silence and denied being a member of the Cosa Nostra in custody interviews post-arrest.
Preparations are already underway for his burial in the family tomb in the town, alongside his father, Don Ciccio, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Ciccio was also head of the local clan and was said to have died of a heart attack while on the run, his body was left in the countryside, dressed for the funeral.