Gianroberto Casaleggio: Co-founder of Italy's Five Star Movement dies aged 61

Nigel Farage was among those to pay tribute

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The Independent Online

The Italian politician and co-founder of Italy’s Five Star Movement Gianroberto Casaleggio has died at the age of 61.

Mr Casaleggio passed away on Tuesday in Milan. He had been a patient at a clinic in the city for the past two weeks, reports the Italian newspaper La Republicca in a translation obtained by the Independent. In 2014 he underwent surgery for a brain edema.

His death was announced by the co-founder of the Five Star Movement Beppe Grillo in a blog post. Mr Grillo said Mr Casaleggio “fought right to the end”.

Over the last few weeks, rumours that Mr Casaleggio would retire soon were fuelled by his few public appearances. However he disputed them a few days ago in a blog post, writing: “I do not give up and continue to fight along with millions of honest Italians for the success of the movement I helped found. Those who hold the opposite can move on.”

Mr Casaleggio and blogger Grillo co-founded the anti-establishment party in 2009, with Mr Casaleggio often considered the brains behind the movement. The party considers themselves anti-corruption and prioritise environmentalism as well as supporting a referendum on Italy’s membership of the EU.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage paid tribute to Mr Casaleggio on Twitter, calling him a “genius” and “inspiration for the new politics”.

Condolences were also shared by political personalities including Dario Fo who called his death a “huge loss for the movement”.