An Italian news report says the suspect who attacked Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with a statue, breaking his nose and teeth, has apologized.

The ANSA news agency says Massimo Tartaglia sent a written note to Mr. Berlusconi from a MIlan jail, calling the attack "superficial, cowardly, and uncontrolled."

Tartaglia says he acted alone and without a political motive.

Police say Tartaglia has no criminal record, but does have a history of mental illness.

Mr. Berlusconi's doctors say he will likely stay in the hospital at least one more day and will need more than a week before he can return to work.

Doctors say the 72-year-old prime minister is in pain and cannot eat.

Mr. Berlusconi was shaking hands and signing autographs after a rally in Milan Sunday when Tartaglia threw a statue of the Milan cathedral at the prime minister's face, breaking his nose, two teeth and badly cutting his lips.

Mr. Berlusconi immediately clutched his face as security agents pushed him into a car. He emerged seconds later to show the crowd he was not seriously hurt. But television pictures showed him in the back of the car looking stunned with a bloody mouth.

The attack has triggered an outpouring of support and sympathy for Mr. Berlusconi, including from those who say he should resign because of sex scandals and corruption trials.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Bloomberg..