Italy's former Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti has died aged 94, according to Italian media reports.

Andreotti, a shadowy seven-time prime minister who presided over the post-war political scene for decades, died at his home in central Rome, his relatives were quoted as saying on Monday.

He  was a key figure in the once-dominant Christian Democratic party, but had suffered from ill health in recent years and was admitted to a hospital in August 2012 with heart trouble.

Andreotti lived in a luxurious apartment building facing the Vatican, with which he always enjoyed strong ties as a staunchly Catholic politician.

"He was the engineer of this country's reconstruction" after World War II, Paolo Cirino Pomicino, a former minister under Andreotti, said on news channel Sky TG 24.

"He had an international prestige that Italian politicians rarely enjoy," he said.

But Riccardo Barenghi, a former editor of leftist daily Il Manifesto, said: "He takes many secrets to the grave with him."

"For better or for worse, and above all for worse, he was a protagonist of our political life," he said.

Source: Agencies