Matteo Messina Denaro, the Sicilian Mafia boss, and last Godfather who was ‘arrested’ in January after evading capture for thirty years, has died in a hospital in Italy, as reported by the ANSA news agency.
Matteo Messina Denaro, a notorious Sicilian Mafia boss, has passed away at the age of 61 due to colon cancer. His decision to seek medical treatment while on the run led to his capture at a clinic in Palermo earlier this year.
Messina Denaro was a ruthless leader in the Cosa Nostra, involved in the murder of anti-Mafia judge Giovanni Falcone in 1992 and deadly bombings in Rome, Florence, and Milan in 1993.
He received multiple life sentences, including one for the kidnapping and murder of a witness’s 12-year-old son. After disappearing in 1993, he spent 30 years evading Italian authorities, remaining a legendary figure on Italy’s most-wanted list.
In January 2023, he was arrested while using a fake identity at a health clinic. He was held in a high-security jail and later transferred to a hospital due to his declining health from cancer.
Reports indicated that he was in an “irreversible coma,” and he had requested not to be resuscitated. Messina Denaro’s arrest provided some closure for his victims, but he maintained his silence even in custody and denied his affiliation with the Cosa Nostra.
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Despite speculation that he had fled abroad during his decades-long evasion, he was found to have been staying near his hometown of Castelvetrano in western Sicily. Plans for his burial in the family tomb alongside his father, Don Ciccio, were already underway. Don Ciccio, also a local clan leader, had died of a heart attack while on the run.
Italian investigators had tirelessly searched the Sicilian countryside for Messina Denaro, using wiretaps on his family and friends to gather information.
They eventually identified him through discussions about the medical problems of an unnamed person with cancer and eye issues, leading to his capture using a national health system database.
* Taking the lead from France 24/ AFP