Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for the last eight years, is near death, his doctors say.
Sharon, 85, suffered organ failure and is in critical condition, the Times of Israel reports. He has not regained consciousness since he suffered a stroke as prime minister in 2006, but his family has said he sometimes blinks and moves his fingers, the Associated Press reports.
A general who led Israel’s turnaround in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Sharon was known as “the bulldozer,” a hardline politician who was elected prime minister in 2001. He oversaw Israel’s troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and later left the conservative Likud party to establish the centrist Kadima party.
Ehud Olmert, his deputy in Kadima, took over from Sharon after his stroke and was elected prime minister months later.