Ariel State of Israel Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, pictured during a defense meeting held at the Pentagon in Washington, District of Columbia (DC). (Released to Public) DoD photo by HELENE C. STIKKEL, CIV
Ariel State of Israel Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, pictured during a defense meeting held at the Pentagon in Washington, District of Columbia (DC). (Released to Public) DoD photo by HELENE C. STIKKEL, CIV

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.


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