Silvio Berlusconi undergoes open-heart surgery

Baku, June 14, AZERTAC

Italy's controversial former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was undergoing cardiac surgery after a heart attack that his doctor said could have killed the 79-year-old, the Novosti Agency said.

"At 8:00am (0600 GMT) this morning, the operation to replace his aortic valve began," the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement.

The operation is expected to last for four hours and Berlusconi will be in intensive care for two days after that. He is expected to remain in hospital for several weeks.

The operation is being conducted by Ottavio Alfieri, the head of the hospital's cardiac surgery unit. Earlier, Berlusconi's young companion, Francesca Pascale, was seen at his window, clutching a handkerchief.

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