Infamous Mafia Boss Dies In Prison Hospital

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Notorious Mafia boss Salvatore Riina has died at age 87.

Riina died at a prison hospital on Nov. 15 after being placed in a medically induced coma following two operations for cancer, NPR reported. He was also suffering from heart disease and Parkinson's at the time.

The former Mafia boss, who was nicknamed "The Beast," is believed to have ordered the killing of more than 150 people between 1969 and 1992. He was ordered to leave Sicily in 1969 and went into hiding after serving a five-year prison sentence for Mafia association.

Riina was eventually caught and was given 26 life sentences in a prison in Parma.

One of the more notable murders came in 1992 when he ordered the killing of anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the Daily Mail reported. The judges had brought more than 300 mobsters to trial in 1987.

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Riina would continue ordering hits from behind bars. He famously ordered the murder of 13-year old Giuseppe Di Matteo to keep his father from revealing Mafia secrets. Another life sentence came from ordering the infamous "Lazio Street Massacre," which resulted in five deaths.

The former Mafia boss also reportedly ordered a hit on the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani, back when he was a state prosecutor in the 1980s.

Riina denied any and all links to the Mafia until 2009. Wiretap recordings captured the moment earlier in 2017 when he said he "regrets nothing," and that "they'll never break me, even if they give me 3,000 years in jail."

Rinna is survived by his wife, Antonietta Bagarella, and their four children. Giovanni, Riina's eldest son, is currently in prison serving a life sentence for four murders.

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"You're not Toto Riina to me, you're just my dad. And I wish you happy birthday dad on this sad but important day, I love you," Riina's son, Salvo, wrote on Facebook the day after his father's death.

Monreale Archbishop Michele Pennisi said the death of Riina "ends the delusion of the Cosa Nostra boss of bosses' omnipotence."

"But the Mafia has not been defeated, and therefore we should not let down our guards," Pennisi wrote in an email to The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Pennisi said that he was unsure what Riina's family planned to do with his remains, but added that a public funeral would not be allowed because the former mafia boss was a "public sinner."

"If the family members ask, a private prayer in the cemetery will be considered," Pennisi said.

Sources: NPR, Daily Mail, Los Angeles Times / Featured Image: Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: AP via Daily Mail

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