The life and times of Ariel Sharon

Al Jazeera takes a look back at the career of a controversial military and political leader.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has died. 

He was 85 years old and had been in a coma since 2006 when a stroke incapacitated him at the height of his political power.

Sharon was one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures. As one of Israel's most famous generals, he was known for bold tactics and an occasional refusal to obey orders. As a politician he became known as "the bulldozer", a man contemptuous of his critics while also capable of getting things done. 

As defence minister, Sharon would be the moving force behind the decision to invade Lebanon in 1982, as a bloody way to expel the Palestinians from their strongholds there and destabilise a northern neighbour.

Today, Sharon's military philosophy is reflected in the Israeli army's Dahiya doctrine - its policy in recent confrontations to send Israel's neighbours in Gaza and Lebanon "into the dark ages" through massive destruction of their physical infrastructure.