Ariel Sharon, Former Israeli Prime Minster, Dies After Eight Years In Coma

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who spent his life dedicated to Israel, its people and furthering the peace process, has died after spending eight years in a coma brought on by a stroke. He was 85.

Sharon, serving as the Prime Minister of Israel at the time of his incapacitation, was scheduled for surgery the day after he suffered a massive, debilitating stroke.  In April 2006, four months after the stroke that left him in a permanent vegetative state, he was declared no longer able to act and removed from office.

Born in 1926, Sharon began his distinguished military career in 1948 where he quickly excelled. He held the rank of commander of the Israeli army and is known for creating Unit 101, the Israeli Special Forces.  

Sharon was appointed to many leadership positions within the Israeli government from 1981 through 1999 including Minister of Defense, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labour, Minister of Housing and Construction and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Sharon was elected the 11th Prime Minister in 2001. He held the position through April 2006.

A dedicated world leader, Sharon recognized the necessity for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem and agreed with other to engage in peace talks. He is known for endorsing the withdrawal of the Gaza strip which allowed for the establishment of the state of Palestine.

Sharon battled many enemies in his life, none more lethal than the lifelong battle with his weight. His love for fine foods, snacks and vodka were well known and as often as he was admonished to implement lifestyle changes, he refused.

He was scheduled to have surgery to correct a heart ailment by cardiac catheterization, one day before the massive stroke that caused severe brain bleeding. Doctors were able to stop the hemorrhaging, but could not stop the onset of the coma. Doctors believed the stroke that Sharon suffered destroyed the neurons in his brain.  

Throughout the past eight years Sharon has been in a terminally ill care facility and his health has progressively failed. In December 2013, he suffered renal failure. He never regained consciousness.

Ariel Sharon passed away January 11, 2014. His body will lie in state at Knesset Plaza and be buried within 36 hours in accordance with Jewish customs.  A state funeral is planned for January 12, 2014.  Sharon will be buried next to his wife, Lily, on the Negev ranch they shared.

 

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