Former Israeli PM Ariel Sharon dead at age 85
FORMER Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died in hospital near Tel Aviv after eight years in a coma
Sharon, 85, had been comatose since January 4, 2006, after suffering a massive stroke.
His condition took a sudden turn for the worse on New Year's Day when he suffered serious kidney problems after surgery.
The burly, white-haired Sharon was one of Israel's most skilled but controversial political and military leaders.
Hailed by many Israelis as a statesman his ruthless methods also earned him the moniker "The Bulldozer."
As news of his death emerged, tributes poured in from Israel and abroad, but the Palestinians were quick to denounce him as a criminal who had escaped international justice.
Army radio said Sharon's body would lie in state at Jerusalem's Knesset so citizens could pay their respects.
Sharon will be buried on Monday (Jan 13) at his property in the Negev desert in southern Israel after a memorial service in parliament.