Israel’s Ariel Sharon Dies

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One of Israel’s legendary politicians and military leaders passed away eight years after a stroke left him comatose.

Former prime minister Ariel Sharon died on Saturday at Sheba Medical Center in the Tel Aviv suburb of Tel Hashomer, according to news reports. He was 85. 

Last week, doctors announced that after remaining stable for nearly eight years, Sharon’s condition had begun to decline.

His sons Omri and and Gilad had been by his side since his condition deteriorated on January 1, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Gilad Sharon said his father "went when he decided to go," and thanked everyone who had prayed for the former prime minister, the Post reported.  

Sharon's vital organs failed, including his kidneys and his lungs. His blood pressure and heartbeat, which returned to normal on Monday, deteriorated again on Thursday. Hospital officials said others in his condition would not have lasted as long as he did, the Post said.

Sharon had been in a coma-like state since he had a major stroke in January 2006. With the exception of a short furlough to his ranch in Israel’s Negev Desert, Sharon has remained at Sheba on life support systems.

A state funeral will be organized for Sharon by the Prime Minister's Office. His body will lie in state at the Knesset before the funeral.

A full obituary will be coming soon.