Matteo Messina Denaro was born on April 26, 1962, in Castelvetrano, Sicily, Italy. He came from a family of Cosa Nostra mafiosi, and his father, Francesco Messina Denaro, was a powerful boss in the Castelvetrano Mafia clan.
Denaro became involved in the Mafia at a young age, and by the time he was in his early 20s, he was already a rising star in the organization. He was known for his ruthlessness and his willingness to carry out even the most brutal killings.
In 1993, Denaro went into hiding after being indicted on multiple charges, including murder and mafia association. He remained on the run for the next 30 years, becoming one of the most wanted criminals in the world.
During his time in hiding, Denaro continued to run his Mafia clan, overseeing a vast criminal empire that included extortion, drug trafficking, and money laundering. He is also believed to have been involved in the planning and execution of some of the Mafia’s most notorious crimes, including the 1992 bombings of Capaci and Via d’Amelio, which killed anti-mafia judges Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.
On January 16, 2023, Denaro was finally arrested after a decades-long manhunt. He was captured while leaving a private clinic in Palermo, Sicily, where he had been receiving treatment for colon cancer.
Denaro was subsequently transferred to a maximum-security prison in L’Aquila, Italy. He died in hospital on September 24, 2023, at the age of 61.
Denaro’s death marks the end of an era for the Cosa Nostra. He was one of the last remaining members of the Mafia’s old guard, and his death is a significant blow to the organization. However, the Cosa Nostra remains a powerful and dangerous criminal group, and it is likely that new leaders will emerge to take Denaro’s place.