The Italian news agency Ansa reported the death of Andrea Purgatori. “He died this morning in a Roman hospital after a short illness.” The 70-year-old was an outstanding journalist, screenwriter and writer. He investigated cases of the mafia, terrorist attacks, corruption. For 24 years he was associated with the leading Italian daily “Corriere della Sera”. It was in its pages that he reported subsequent chapters of the Emanuela Orlandi case, to which he devoted himself from the very beginning.
News of the death reached Ansa journalists from the law firm Cau, which represents the journalist’s children: Edoard, Ludovic, Victoria and the rest of the family. It is not yet known what disease contributed to the death of the 70-year-old, Ansa only states that it was “short and rapid”. “His condition was supposed to deteriorate over the last hours” – informs TV “La7”.
Unconventional, brave, persistent
Andrea Purgatori was born on February 1, 1953 in Rome. He has been working as a journalist since 1974, in 1980 he graduated from journalism studies at New York’s Columbia University. From 1976 he was a reporter for “Corriere della Sera”. “He dealt with terrorism, Italian intelligence, organized crime,” Ansa lists.
For the Italians, he is a symbol of professionalism and perseverance, which he proved at the beginning of his career by covering the disaster of June 27, 1980. The Itavia plane then crashed over the town of Ustica, killing all 81 people. To date, the cause of the accident has not been established. “He brought to light the lies and deception of those who pushed the thesis that the crash of the Itavia plane was caused by a bomb explosion. He stood by the relatives of the victims, promising them a constant search for the truth. ‘Purgatori’ became synonymous with the name of the town of ‘Ustica’, it was like a trademark, a guarantee of extraordinary tenacity in action,” recalls the journalist Paolo Conti, who “is honored to have been able to work with him.”
“He worked from morning to night. He had good intuition, he thought outside the box. He revolutionized our covers by looking at newspapers from the United States, he cared about good photographs, he decided on titles that were more than bold” – recalls Conti in “Corriere”.
Purgatori is also valued for his high manners and balanced language with which he reported the most important events.
Media representative on the Orlandi case
Recently, television viewers from around the world could get to know Purgatori through his participation in the documentary “Vatican Girl” (premiered in autumn 2022) about the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi. From the first moments after the disappearance of the 15-year-old girl in 1983, he reported further progress in the investigation, thanks to his sources he discovered clues leading to other suspects. He was the representative of the Italian media in this case. In June, when the Senate was debating support for the creation of a parliamentary commission to investigate the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi, several witnesses were summoned to the upper house of parliament for questioning: a Vatican promoter of justice, a lawyer for the family, Emanuela’s brother and one journalist – Andrea Purgatori.
The journalist was also the author and host of social, information and cultural programs, such as “Uno di Notte” on Rai TV or “Atlantide” on La7 TV, which in 2019 was recognized as the best cultural program in Pescara at the festival in Pescara Italy.
He wrote scripts for the Italian television theater and many series, he wrote reportages, he is also the author of novels. He has received several awards, including international ones, for his work. He was a member of the Italian Film Academy and the European Film Academy. From 2014 to 2020, he acted as the chairman of the Italian branch of the Greenpeace foundation.
“He carried out investigations that have exposed the public to the most important Italian secrets for the last 40 years, starting with the disaster in Ustica,” recalls the president of the Campania region, Vincenzo De Luca.
ANSA, Corriere della Sera, La7
Main photo source: Domenico Cippitelli/PA/PAP