Joseph Bonanno

Died May 12th, 2002

Notorious Mafia Leader Bonanno Dead
Sun May 12,12:31 AM ET
By ARTHUR H. ROTSTEIN, Associated Press Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Joseph Bonanno, the notorious gangster known as "Joe Bananas" who ran one of the most powerful Mafia groups in the 1950s and '60s, died Saturday. He was 97.

Bonanno, who retired to Arizona in 1968 and had suffered from several health problems in recent years, died of heart failure, said his attorney, Alfred "Skip" Donau. He said Bonanno died peacefully surrounded by his family.

Bonanno was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital on Monday and "he literally just faded away," said Dr. David Ben-Asher, Bonanno's physician since the late 1980s.

"He was an interesting guy. People who were in contact with him had unswerving loyalty, really incredible," Ben-Asher said. "They would have done anything for him. He really engendered loyalty in people."

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