Reputed Montreal mob boss Rizzuto dead: Hospital

Vito Rizzuto, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia, has died. He was 67.

Montreal: Vito Rizzuto, the reputed head of the Montreal Mafia, has died. He was 67.
Maude Hebert-Chaput of Montreal`s Sacre-Coeur Hospital says Rizzuto died of natural causes early today.

Authorities considered Rizzuto the head of Canada`s most powerful criminal organisation when he was arrested in 2004.

He returned to Canada in October 2012 after serving a prison sentence in Colorado on racketeering charges related to three Mafia killings in New York City in 1981.

While he was in prison, his once-dominant empire was decimated by setbacks and his own family was devastated by tragedy.

The Rizzuto family sustained damage in 2006 following Operation Colisee, a five-year police investigation that culminated in mass arrests in the largest sweep against the Italian Mafia in Canadian history.

Rizzuto`s eldest son, Nicolo Jr., was killed in broad daylight in December 2009. The shooting set off killings and disappearances targeting some of Rizzuto`s closest allies and associates.

In November 2010, Rizzuto`s father, Nicolo Sr., was shot and killed as he prepared to sit down to dinner with his wife and daughter. The 86-year-old was gunned down with a sniper`s bullet through a window in his mansion.

Rizzuto`s criminal empire stretched from South America to Europe. In 2005, Italian prosecutors filed charges against Rizzuto over allegations that the Mafia was involved in the building of a multibillion-dollar bridge linking mainland Italy to Sicily. The bridge was to be one of that country`s largest-ever public works projects.