Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, son of Italy's last king, dies at 86

Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy, the son of Italy’s last king, and his wife Marina Doria are shown at Palazzo Reale in Turin, Italy, on October 29, 2010. Emanuele died Saturday at age 86, his family announced. File Photo by Alessandro di Marco/EPA

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Vittorio Emanuele, the Duke of Savoy and son of the last king of Italy, died Saturday in Geneva, his family announced. He was 86.

Emanuele, the son of Italy's King Umberto II, "passed away peacefully in Geneva surrounded by his family," the House of Savoy said in a statement.

Emanuele, who would have turned on Feb. 12, led a controversial life marked by a number of scandals. Most notably, was found not guilty of a criminal offense in the 1978 shooting death of 19-year-old German Dirk Hamer. Hamer was shot and killed in August 1978 on Cavallo, a small island in the Mediterranean Sea which is part of Corsica.

A Paris court acquitted Emanuele of murder charges in 1991, handing him a six-month prison sentence for illegally possessing the firearm used to kill Hamer.

Emanuele lived in exile until 2003 when Italy changed its stance on the country's monarchy.

The was the only son of Umberto II, who briefly held the throne in May and June of 1946, after which Italy suspended the country's monarchy. Umberto lived in Geneva in exile until his death at the age of 78 in 1983.

He had long hoped to return to Italy, something that only became possible for his son in 2003.

Emanuele had one son, Emanuele Filiberto, with wife Marina Doria. The couple was wed in Iran in 1971, with publications at the time decrying the prince's marriage to a "commoner."

Doria, 88, is a former Swiss water skiing champion and continues living in Geneva.

"The place and date of the funeral will be communicated as soon as possible," the House of Savoy said in the statement.