A former model who testified at Silvio Berlusconi's under-age sex trial may have died after coming into contact with a radioactive substance.

Moroccan-born Imane Fadil, 33, died in a hospital in Milan on March 1, a month after being admitted with unexplained stomach pains and claiming she might have been poisoned.

Fadil was one of the witnesses who testified at the trial of the former Italian prime minister and media mogul on charges of having sex with an under-age prostitutes at one of his notoriously hedonistic "bunga bunga" parties.

In January, Fadil said she had paid a heavy price for coming forward and that "the truth would come out" in a book she was writing. "I have always told the truth and I've rejected many attempts to corrupt me by Berlusconi and his entourage ... I have suffered a great deal compared to those who let themselves be paid off."

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Corriere della Sera reported that Humanitas hospital in Milan had run tests to determine the cause of her failing health, but finding nothing, had sent samples to a specialised laboratory. The results came back on March 6 suggesting the presence of "a mixture of radioactive substances which are not normally available for purchase".

Francesco Greco, Milan prosecutor, said she had been admitted exhibiting "symptoms of poisoning". A post mortem is to be carried out this week.

Now 82, the billionaire is on trial for paying a witness to give false testimony about his parties. Berlusconi is already being investigated or prosecuted for witness tampering in Milan, Siena, Rome and Turin, for allegedly paying people to keep quiet about his parties. He said: "It's always very sad when someone as young as this dies. I never met this person and never spoke to her."