Veteran journalist and television personality Maurizio Costanzo died, aged 84, his press office announced on Friday.

A constant presence on Italian television for many years, the veteran journalist and talk show host was a mainstay on Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset network, elevating him to stardom through his self-titled discussion program The Maurizio Costanzo Show, on which he became known for his quick wit and incisive style of interview. 

Born on August, 28, 1938, in Rome, Costanzo's career started in the world of print journalism where for a time he worked for the newspaper Paese Sera and later went on the become the director for the Rizzoli publications La Domenica del Corriere and the popular tabloid L'Occhio

A friend of assassinated judge Giovanni Falcone, Costanzo was also an avid anti-Mafia campaigner and memorably burned a t-shirt with the words "Mafia made in Italy" live on air. 

In 1993, he was targeted by a car bomb planted by the Cosa Nostra which went off in via Ruggero Fauro in Rome as Costanzo, accompanied by his wife and fellow TV personality Maria De Filippi, was being driven after the end of a Maurizio Costanzo show broadcast. 

He survived the attack and subsequently doubled down in his campaign against the mafia. 

Costanzo also lent his hand to screenwriting, penning 26 screenplays for film and television between 1968 and 2008. Among these are Pupi Avati’s 1976 film The House with Laughing Windows (La Casa dalle Finestre che Ridono) and his 1983 film Revenge of the Dead.

After being accused of belonging to a masonic lodge, he was forced to leave Italy's national broadcaster RAI, after which, Berlusconi entrusted him The Maurizio Costanzo Show, which holds the record for the longest-running Italian talk show.

One of Berlusconi’s Fininvest TV stations, Canale 5, appointed him its artistic director until 2009.

He also had an academic career, serving as a professor at the Università degli Studi Niccolò Cusano.

Costanzo was married four times, the latest of which was to TV personality Maria De Filippi, with whom he shares an adopted son. 

His previous wives were journalist Lori Sammartino and journalist Flaminia Morando, with whom he had two children.

He later had a relationship with actress Simona Izzo whom he never married. His third wife was TV presenter Marta Flavi.

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