Sicilian mafia head Matteo Messina Denaro, the man who "filled a cemetery all by himself" has died aged 61.
The "last godfather" and former Cosa Nostra boss had been captured in January this year after 30 years on the run, with police tailing the ruthless crime boss to a private health clinic. They arrested Denaro, who boasted of filling a graveyard of corpses all by himself.
L'Aquila mayor Pierluigi Biondi confirmed the death of Denaro, saying his death brings an end "to a story of violence and blood". A cause of death has not yet been released, though Biondi noted the mob boss died "following a worsening of his illness".
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Messina, who had been in hiding since 1993, had managed to avoid authorities following a string of sickening crimes which shocked the world. The vicious criminal had referred to himself as "Diabolik".
He was also known for his part in over half a dozen Mafia murders for the Cosa Nostra family, including that of Giovanni Falcone's death. The Italian judge met his end when he was shot dead by a hired hitman. He and Paolo Borsellino were killed for their part in anti-mafia activities.
Since then, Messina had been in hiding, keeping himself tucked away in a private clinic, which officers stormed in January this year. In August, the 61-year-old was moved to a maximum security prison in L'Aquila.
Soon after, he was admitted to the city's San Salvatore hospital, where it was said his illness had worsened and his health had declined. He was later deemed "not compatible" with the criminal justice system and too ill to stay behind bars.
Family insiders say the ruthless mafia man had been in an "irreversible coma" since Friday (September . Messina had once boasted of filling his own "cemetery" of victims. He chillingly claimed: "I filled a cemetery all by myself."
As ruthless a quote as it is, Messina is believed to have killed at least 50 people, backing his brutal words up with actions that shocked the world. Allegations against the mob boss include claims he dissolved a child in acid and fronted a bombing campaign in Italy.
His reign of terror came to an agonisingly slow end, and almost three decades on from his hit against anti-mafia lawmakers, the Raggruppamento Operative Speciale got their man. Just eight months later, Messina was confirmed dead after a brief illness.
Preparations for his funeral are already underway, with plans to bury the notorious gangster alongside his father, Don Ciccio. Messina had been convicted in 2002 in absentia to life in prison for having killed or ordered the murder of dozens of people.
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