July 5, 2016 / 11:34 AM / 3 years ago

Frail-looking Berlusconi leaves hospital saying he still wants to serve

Italian tycoon and former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi waves as he leaves the hospital after a heart surgery in Milan, Italy July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

MILAN (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister, left hospital on Tuesday looking frail after major heart surgery, but said he still wanted to serve the country.

“I feel better but now I will have to have two months of convalescence and then I hope to be still useful for Italy and Italians,” he told reporters.

The 79-year-old center-right politician and media mogul had an aortic valve replaced on June 14 after suffering what his doctors said was a life-threatening cardiac disorder. He spent nearly a month in hospital.

Berlusconi stood but locked arms with two aides as he spoke for about 10 minutes about Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, the political situation in Italy, and the future of AC Milan, the soccer team that his family is in the process of selling.

Berlusconi has been forced by legal problems to take a back seat in politics but remains an important figure on the center-right.

His once-powerful group of parties has become increasingly fragmented in recent years, especially since he lost his grip on power in 2011.

His Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party suffered mixed fortunes in local elections last month, with its candidate for Rome mayor finishing fourth.

Reporting By Philip Pullella; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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