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January 03, 2014

Hospital: Israel's Sharon in a 'Slow, Steady' Decline

by VOA News

Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's health has deteriorated further, with hospital officials now saying he is in a "slow, steady decline."

Zeev Rotstein, director of the Tel Hashomer hospital, said on Friday that Sharon's kidneys and other vital organs are now malfunctioning.

The hospital said Thursday the 85-year-old former Israeli leader was in critical condition. He has been in a coma since suffering a stroke in 2006 at the height of his political power.

Sharon was one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures. In mid-2005, he directed a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, ending a 38-year military control of the territory.

It was considered by many to be a shocking turnaround for a man who had been a leading player in building Jewish settlements in captured Palestinian territories.