The physician said to have imbued Silvio Berlusconi with his remarkable political and physical longevity has died – and possibly taken his “anti-ageing” secrets with him to the grave.
Umberto Scapagnini, 71, the former personal doctor to Mr Berlusconi, who once described the controversial tycoon as “technically immortal”, thanks to the “special elixir of youth” he prescribed, proved less hardy than his patient, after suffering a major heart attack.
Dr Scapagnini famously claimed that Mr Berlusconi, who at the age of 76 is currently manoeuvring for another return to power, was a “physically and intellectually superior human being” who could “have sex six times a week”.
Three-time premier Mr Berlusconi, in turn thanked his personal medic by giving him the nickname “Dr Scopagnini" (“Dr Fuck”) due to the youthful stamina and longevity he enjoyed under his care.
Wags were quick to note, today, that for this reason alone there were probably more than a few people who wanted to kill the good doctor and that maybe the police should open a murder investigation.
Several years ago in an interview with Corriere della Sera, the physician declared: "Silvio is technically more or less immortal; my elixir has taken 12 years off him. He has the mental and sexual activity of a fifty-year-old." And then, referring to the enemies of Berlusconi, added: "Don’t delude yourselves; he will outlive us all."
The prostitute Patrizia D’Addario revealed the extent of the septuagenarian mogul’s sex drive in her 2009 kiss-and-tell memoir. Describing a sex party at Mr Berlusconi’s Rome residence, she said: "I thought I'd seen a fair few things, but I'd never seen 20 women for one man.” Of another encounter with the then premier she recalled: “I'd never seen such passion for sex with a woman. He didn't let up until eight in the morning.”
But Mr Berlusconi’s famous libido, aided and abetted by Dr Scapagnini’s special “anti-aging” formula has also got the mogul into hot water. Mr Berlusconi is bracing himself for verdicts in the “Rubygate” sex and corruption case in Milan, in which he is accused of paying for sex with young belly dancer Karima "Ruby" El Mahroug in 2010 when she was under age, and then abusing his power of office to cover it up.
Recently, however, Mr Berlusconi cited ill health – eye inflammation and high blood pressure – as a reason for delaying the trial.
Nonetheless, Mr Berlusconi had kinds words for his doctor today: “I’ll miss him very much, as will many people from all backgrounds who had the good fortune to be close to him,” he said.
Although Dr Scapagnini didn’t possess his patient’s longevity - despite surviving cancer and a serious car crash - he shared with the controversial mogul a political record tarred by brushes with the law.
Dr Scapagnini served as a member of Mr Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party and was twice the mayor of Catania. And it was as first citizen of the Sicilian city that he earned a conviction - relating for subsidies he arranged shortly before being voted into office.
He was battling abuse of office charges when he was struck down late last month, before dying in hospital this week.