Reuters International

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi leaves the stage flanked by his girlfriend Francesca Pascale at the end of a rally to protest his tax fraud conviction, outside his palace in central Rome, Italy August 4, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File picture

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MILAN (Reuters) - Silvio Berlusconi is expected to undergo surgery on Tuesday, his doctor said on Saturday, after the four-time Italian prime minister was admitted to hospital this week with a heart problem.

A spokeswoman for Milan's San Raffaele hospital, where the 79-year-old centre-right leader will have a defective aortic valve replaced, confirmed the comment made to reporters by Berlusconi's personal doctor Alberto Zangrillo.

The media mogul said in a message on Facebook on Friday his Forza Italia party was perfectly able to function despite his absence, ahead of a run-off vote in municipal elections on June 19.

(Reporting by Valentina Za; Editing by Dominic Evans)

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