State funeral honors former Italian President

ROME (AP) — Giorgio Napolitano, the first former Communist to rise to Italy’s presidency and the first person to be elected twice to the mostly ceremonial post, died on Friday, the presidential palace said. He was 98. A statement issued Friday night by the presidential palace confirmed Italian news reports of the death of Napolitano, who had been ailing in a Rome hospital for weeks. The current president, Sergio Mattarella, in a message hailed his predecessor as head of state, saying that Napolitano’s life “mirrored a large part of (Italy’s) history in the second half of the 20th century, with its dramas, its complexity, its goals, its hopes.” As a prominent member of what had long been the largest Communist party in the West, Napolitano had advocated positions that often veered from party orthodoxy. He sought dialogue with Italian and European socialists to end his party’s isolation, and he was an early backer of European integration.

Latest LiveNOW Stories

From the Archives

Consumer & Money

Science & Tech

Police Chases

Weather Across the Country