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Berlusconi Hospitalized After Fainting


Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fainted Sunday while delivering an address to political supporters at a town near Florence.

The 70-year-old media magnate later blamed the incident on hard work and exhaustion. He said he was being hospitalized overnight in Milan while doctors re-examine early evidence of an irregular heartbeat.

Television footage showed the center-right opposition leader at a podium criticizing the current government, when he suddenly began speaking with difficulty and slowly collapsed in front of a microphone. Bodyguards rushed forward and prevented him from falling to the floor.

A half hour later, Mr. Berlusconi was seen walking unaided to a waiting limousine.

Berlusconi, who is Italy's richest man, left office in April after his coalition lost elections. Romano Prodi now heads the country's center-left government.

Last week, the former prime minister and 13 others went on trial over allegations of corporate fraud and money laundering. The defendants, who deny the charges, face up to 12 years in prison if found guilty.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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