Ariel Sharon’s Condition Worsens Amid 8-Year Coma

Former Israeli PM has been in a coma since 2006

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Oded Balilty / AP

In this Sunday May 16, 2004 file photo, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pauses during a news conference in Jerusalem.

The medical condition of Ariel Sharon, former prime minister of Israel, has worsened in recent days as he battles reported kidney problems while in a coma. A spokesman at the hospital near Tel Aviv where Sharon is being treated put it bluntly: his condition has “deteriorated in the past few days.”

Sharon served as prime minister of Israel from 2001 until 2006, when he had a stroke and went into a coma, where he has remained since. The 85-year-old military general served in nearly every major Israeli conflict since the birth of the state. Elected for his well-known hardline stance, Sharon softened his positions slightly after assuming office, CNN reports.

Sharon’s health has wavered since going into a coma eight years ago. In January 2013, doctors reported seeing brain activity when he was shown photos of his home and heard his son’s voice.