Gianroberto Casaleggio, co-founder of the Italian party 5 Star Movement along with Beppe Grillo, passed away. The 61-year-old “guru of the Web” had fought for a long time against a serious illness which forced him to undergo brain surgery. A few days ago, talking about his health, he said: “I do not give up.” #ciaogianroberto is the hashtag launched by the 5 Star Movement on the Web, through Grillo’s blog, whose creator and administrator was Casaleggio himself. In mourning for the death of his friend, Grillo – who is also a comedian – canceled his show planned in Naples.
Son to a Russian-Italian interpreter, Casaleggio began his career as a software engineer for Olivetti, which was run by Roberto Colaninno. He worked as CEO for Webegg S.p.A., a “multidisciplinary counselling group for companies and public administration online, whose aim is creating a network of companies”.
In 2004 he ran for office in the municipality where he resided, Settimo Vittone in the province of Turin, with the civil list ‘‘For Settimo’’, led by Vito Groccia. He gets six votes and his list turns out to be the third one out of the three competing. According to Groccia Panorama he was close to Forza Italy. Casaleggio subsequently replicated, arguing with the magazine, that the civil list had no connections with any party.
Together with his son David, he had been the editor of Grillo’s blog since 2005. Besides, he had been the editor of several books by Beppe Grillo. Till 2010 he had also administrated the blog of Antonio Di Pietro, from the island, on Italy of Values’ ‘‘Second Life’’ and Chiarelettere publisher’s site. He stopped cooperating with the latter in 2013. Since 2006, his company has been conducting research in e-commerce in Italy, presenting at an annual conference in Milan held in the spring.
“Gianroberto Casaleggio’s death is a huge loss for the Movement and I cannot imagine what may be the consequences, but I am sure that the extraordinary people who are part of it, especially the young generation, will be able to stay on the right path” commented Dario Fo, recalling the “culture” and “extraordinary knowledge”, as well as the “modesty”, “humbleness which is hard to find in the environment of the common politics ” and “the generosity in Casaleggio’s way of behavior”.