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Cosa Nostra Boss Bernardo Provenzano Dead at 83

by / / Source: Reuters
Bernardo Provenzano is seen at the police headquarters in Palmero, Italy, following his arrest in April 2006.QUESTURA DI PALERMO / AFP - Getty Images, files

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ROME — Italian Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, one of the most notorious crime figures of his time, died Wednesday in a Milan hospital. He was 83.

Bernardo Provenzano is seen at the police headquarters in Palmero, Italy, following his arrest in April 2006.QUESTURA DI PALERMO / AFP - Getty Images, files

Prison authorities and a lawyer for the convicted Cosa Nostra "boss of bosses" confirmed the death of the man who reputedly led the Mafia's powerful Corleone clan. He was captured in Sicily 10 years ago following decades of hiding in the countryside.

Provenzano had been held under strict security measures at a Milan hospital.

Lawyer Rosalba Di Gregorio had cited Provenzano's increasing physical frailty and mental infirmity in several failed attempts to persuade anti-Mafia prosecutors to ease the rigid prison conditions intended to prevent mobsters from wielding power from behind bars.

Provenzano was the undisputed head of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra Mafia from 1993 until his arrest in 2006.

The "capo dei capi" — or top boss — has spent 43 years as a fugitive. Provenzano had been convicted in absentia of ordering or carrying out multiple murders.

As a young hitman in Corleone, the hill town near Palermo made famous in the "Godfather" films, Provenzano made a name for himself for being ruthless.

He was nicknamed "The Tractor" because of the way he mowed down clan enemies.

Women look at posters bearing photos of Bernardo Provenzano in Bagheria, Italy, on April 28, 2005.FABRIZIO VILLA / AFP - Getty Images, file

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