Sicilian mafia boss dies in Milan hospital

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By Luke Barber
Sicilian mafia boss dies in Milan hospital

Italian mafia boss Bernardo “The Tractor” Provenzano – so named because of his habit of mowing enemies down – has died at a Milan hospital.

The Sicilian from Corleone, the hill town which gave its name to the crime family in The Godfather, was head of the Cosa Nostra mafia from 1993 and spent 43 years on the run until he was arrested in 2006.

He was convicted in absentia before his capture for a string of murders including those of two prominent mafia prosecutors, Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

During his four decades as a fugitive from justice, Provenzano became a legendary outlaw. Prosecutors believe he remained in Sicily, probably not far from his home town, protected by series of local contacts.

His early years as a foot soldier in the Cosa Nostra was riddled with tales of brutality, but on becoming the mafia’s undisputed head in 1993 he abandoned the reckless ways of his formative years in favour a low profile approach.

He ran the organised crime body like the chief executive of a company, earning him the nickname “The Accountant”, and all but erased the bombings and mass killings synonymous with the mafia of old.