Convicted of tax evasion, Berlusconi was expelled from the Senate in November 2013 and barred from participating in parliamentary elections for six years, after which he was elected to the European Parliament in 2019.
Berlusconi faced trials in over 20 judicial cases. Amid a fierce battle with the judiciary, he referred to himself as "the most persecuted man in Italy," relentlessly pursued by judges wearing "red robes", alluding to the colour associated with communism.
Read more: Trump indictment adds to long list of prosecuted world leaders
Political rise, setbacks...and rise again
In the 1970s and 1980s, Italy experienced a period of instability, terrorism, mafia activities, corruption, and intense political struggle between the Christian Democrats and the Communists.
It was in this climate that Berlusconi's political rise began in the mid-1990s. Italy was reeling from corruption scandals exposed by the Clean Hands Campaign, and Berlusconi — a media mogul — saw an opportunity to appeal to the disillusioned electorate of the Christian Democrats after the party's tragic demise.
Starting from Rome, where a political void needed to be filled urgently, Berlusconi capitalised on his leadership skills and control over the media.
He managed to form a new government alongside his allies in the Northern League and the heirs of the National Alliance (the precursors to Georgina Meloni's party). At 58, Berlusconi made history by becoming the first businessman to ascend to power at the helm of European democracy, taking charge of Palazzo Chigi.
However, Berlusconi's government was short-lived as his Northern League allies betrayed him, leading to his resignation within a few months. Nevertheless, this setback didn't deter him from making a triumphant return and serving as prime minister from 2001 to 2005.
He became the longest-serving prime minister in Italian history, known for the frequent changes in governments during his tenure. However, his last return to power during the eurozone crisis and austerity plans in November 2011 was not as triumphant, and he was once again forced to leave Chigi Palace.
It is challenging to encompass all the details and circumstances of Berlusconi's political journey, as he had his share of successes and frustrations. He was a patriotic Italian and European through and through, but also a realist at his core, reflecting the spirit of Machiavelli, a fellow countryman.
He inspired politicians like former US President Donald Trump, advocating for the integration of politics and business within the framework of unrestricted globalisation.
History will remember Silvio Berlusconi for his rich, fascinating, and eventful life, mired in scandal but also in praise.