Former Italian PM Giulio Andreotti, one of the most prominent political figures of post-war Italy, has died aged 94.
Giulio Andreotti was prime minister seven times between 1972 and 1992. He led the Christian Democrat party, which dominated Italian politics for decades.
He was dogged in later years by allegations of corruption and Mafia links.
Giulio Andreotti had been seriously ill for some time, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported.
He entered the Italian parliament in 1946 and remained there for more than 60 years, before seeing out his days as a senator-for-life.
He was reputed to have met the pope as an 8-year-old after sneaking away from a Vatican tour group.
Giulio Andreotti later became one of the founding fathers of the post-war Italian republic.
He was a junior minister at the age of 28, and went on to serve as either prime minister or a senior minister in the many frequently changing Christian Democratic coalitions that held power almost continuously between 1946 and 1992.
The party then lost power and collapsed.
Giulio Andreotti was known as a pro-European who committed Italy to European integration and helped forge the way forward to a single currency.
But he also faced a growing string of allegations, many related to his links with corrupt financiers and top criminals.
Giulio Andreotti was accused by a super grass of sharing a “kiss of honor” with the Mafia’s “boss of bosses”, Toto Riina, at a secret meeting in 1987.
And he was tried for allegedly ordering the murder of a journalist who had threatened to publish details of his alleged Mafia involvement.
Giulio Andreotti’s conviction and 24-year jail sentence for the killing was overturned on appeal.
However, in 2004, Italy’s top appeals court did uphold a verdict that he had “consciously and deliberately cultivated a stable relationship” with Mafia bosses right up to 1980.
But he was not formally convicted because the offence had lapsed under Italy’s statute of limitations.
Giulio Andreotti remained a senator and an influential political figure until his final years, not least because of his close ties with the Vatican.