Italy mafia boss Bernardo `the tractor` Provenzano dies
Sicilian "Cosa Nostra" mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, dubbed "the tractor" for the way he mowed his victims down, has died Wednesday after a long illness, Italian media said.
Rome: Sicilian "Cosa Nostra" mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, dubbed "the tractor" for the way he mowed his victims down, has died Wednesday after a long illness, Italian media said.
Provenzano, 83, was the Cosa Nostra crime group`s "boss of bosses" until his arrest in 2006 after 40 years on the run, during which he communicated with his lieutenants by word of mouth or typewritten notes.
He died at the San Paolo hospital in Milan in northern Italy, where he had been being treated for cancer.
He was born in the village of Corleone -- the name of which became associated with the Sicilian mafia thanks to the "Godfather" novels and films -- and reportedly committed his first murder aged 25, when he killed a rival boss.
He became second in command to mafia leader "Toto" Riina, who presided over a series of gangland wars, and killings of top judges, that were a hallmark of Italian life in the 1980s.
Provenzano became the uncontested head of Cosa Nostra after Riina was clapped in cuffs in 1993 -- an arrest one supergrass said Provenzano had had a hand in.
He gained a second nickname, "the accountant", because of his mastery of his crime empire`s finances.
Italy`s most-wanted man for many years, he was finally arrested in a farmhouse in his fiefdom in the Corleone region near Palermo.
Sentenced to several consecutive life sentences, he was transferred in 2014 to hospital in Milan suffering from neurological problems.
Italy`s supreme court rejected a plea from his lawyers to release him on the grounds of ill health.
Provenzano had reportedly attempted suicide in his prison cell in 2012 but was stopped when guards found him with a bag over his head.
Bosses captured in Italy are imprisoned in particularly severe conditions under a law known as "41 bis", which greatly restricts their contact with other inmates and non-prisoners in an attempt to stop them continuing to orchestrate crime from the inside.
Inmates can only speak to visitors via intercom from behind a thick glass wall -- or swap their one-hour monthly visit for one 10-minute telephone call.