Italian former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed on Friday to survive another stint in hospital, as the 86-year-old media mogul showed signs of improvement as he received treatment for leukaemia and a lung infection.
The billionaire, a larger-than-life figure who has dominated Italian public life for decades, was admitted Wednesday to the intensive care cardiac unit at Milan's San Raffaele Hospital.
On Friday, the Berlusconi-owned newspaper, Il Giornale, ran a front-page photo of a younger, beaming "Cavaliere" from a past election campaign, with the headline, "I won't give in."
"It's tough, but I'll make it this time too," Berlusconi was quoted as telling the newspaper from his hospital bed.
Fans from Monza, the football club owned by Berlusconi, unravelled a banner outside the hospital reading, "Forza Silvio! Monza is with you."
The declining health of the three-time prime minister has caused Berlusconi to be in and out of the hospital in recent years. His latest admission to San Raffaele Hospital came just a week after being discharged after a four-day stay.
But on Friday, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, the No. 2 in Berlusconi's right-wing party Forza Italia, told Rai 3 television that the patient "had rested well and reacted well to his treatment".
As family members and close friends paid visits to the hospital, doctors on Thursday revealed that Berlusconi was being treated for a lung infection and was suffering from chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (CMML), a rare type of blood cancer affecting mainly older adults.
The cancer was in a "persistent chronic phase" but not "acute", they said. Acute leukaemia is more severe and can worsen more quickly.