Berlusconi to undergo heart surgery

Doctor says former Italian prime minister "risked dying."

Former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi is to undergo heart surgery next week for a malfunctioning aortic valve that could have killed him, according to his doctor.

The 79-year-old billionaire insisted on casting his vote in Rome's local elections before presenting himself at the hospital in Milan on 5 June.

However Berlusconi's Forza Italia candidate for mayor of Rome, Alfio Marchini, polled so poorly that he failed to make it to the second-round ballot on 19 June.