Italian radical leader Marco Pannella dies

Civil rights warrior and Italian Radical Party leader Marco Pannella died today aged 86, the party's radio station says

Marco Pannella led several radical political battles
Marco Pannella led several radical political battles

Italian Radical Party founder and leader Marco Pannella died aged 86, the party's radio station said today.

The former MP and MEP had been seriously ill for some time and died in a Rome clinic where he was admitted to on Wednesday.

The fireband politician turned 86 on 2 May , when he received well-wishing phone calls from across the political spectrum and from President Sergio Mattarella.

Under his leadership, the Radical Party engaged in seminal battles including those for abortion, euthanasia, drug legalisation, gay marriage and divorce.

In a political career spanning over 60 years, Pannella carried out several hunger strikes in Italy and elsewhere to defend civil rights and to end poverty and famine.

A hunger strike in April 2014 to protest Italian prison conditions resulted in surgery.
 

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