The medical condition of the comatose Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel, has sharply deteriorated, the hospital treating him said.
The 85-year-old Sharon, who is at the Tel Hashomer hospital in Tel Aviv, was suffering on Wednesday from “serious kidney problems” after undergoing surgery, according to the reports.
A hospital spokesman said that there had been a deterioration in Sharon’s condition in the past few days.
Sharon had a stroke on January 4, 2006, slipping into a coma from which he has never recovered.
He has been getting medical care and receiving fluids through a feeding tube.
Last September, Sharon underwent abdominal surgery to correct a problem in his intravenous feeding system.
The operation, which lasted an hour, was planned several months beforehand.
Israeli and US specialists said in January 2013 that Sharon had shown “significant brain activity” in an MRI scan, responding to pictures of his family seven years after the stroke.
In 1983, an Israeli investigative commission concluded that Israeli leaders were “indirectly responsible” for the killings at the Palestinian refugee camps, Sabra and Shatila, in Lebanon, and that Sharon, who was defence minister at the time, bore “personal responsibility” for failing to prevent them.
Sharon later found popularity as prime minister from 2001 to 2006. He led Israel’s military response to the Palestinian uprising known as the second intifada, all but ending it by 2004.
The next year, he reversed his years of pro-settlement policies and pulled all of Israel’s soldiers and settlers out of the Gaza Strip.
That same year he left the Likud Party, which he helped found, and formed the centrist Kadima, a party designed to be centred largely on his own personality.
But only months later, at the age of 77 and considerably overweight, Sharon suffered a series of strokes that left him comatose.