1 of 2 | Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy's most wanted man, following his arrest in Palermo, Sicily, by the Carabinieri police's ROS unit after 30 years on the run, in January. File Photo by Carabinieri/EPA-EFE
Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Former Mafia kingpin Matteo Messina Denaro, who was on the run for three decades before he was captured in January, died in an Italian hospital on Monday at 62 after suffering from cancer and going into an irreversible coma.
Denaro died in a hospital in L'Aquila where he had been treated for advanced colon cancer for more than a month. He suffered significant bleeding on Friday and shortly after went into his coma.
He reportedly met with his family before slipping into his coma. That included daughter Lorenza Alagna, born in 1996 while evading authorities but never acknowledged.
Alagna was joined by one of Messina Denaro's sisters and niece Lorenza Guttadauro, who was also one of his defense attorneys.
"I thank the staff of the Le Costarelle prison, the police forces, the healthcare personnel, for never lacking professionalism and humanity," L'Aquila Mayor Pierluigi Biondi said on X, formerly Twitter, about the death.
Denaro was known for his brutality and killing law officials investigating the mob.
Authorities believe Denaro rose to the position of "boss of bosses" in the organized crime empire after the deaths of Bernardo "The Tractor" Provenzano in 2016 and Riina in 2017.
He went into hiding in 1993 after being sentenced to life in prison as a prime instigator of the July 19, 1992, Via D'Amelio terrorist attack. That incident killed anti-mafia Italian magistrate Paolo Borsellino and five members of his police escort.
He was also convicted in the May 23, 1992, bombing, in Capaci, Sicily, which killed anti-Mafia magistrate Giovanni Falcone, his wife Francesca Morvillo and three police escort agents.
He was also blamed for the death of 12-year-old Giuseppe Di Matteo, the son of a mobster-turned-state witness who was strangled and dissolved in acid in 1996.
He was arrested while undergoing treatment at a healthcare clinic in Palermo, Sicily, in January.
Following the arrest, police found a secret hideout belonging to the mob boss that was filled with expensive gems, diamonds and emeralds at the location, as well as empty paper boxes that may have held important documents.