JERUSALEM — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a coma for eight years, was in critical condition Thursday, clinging to life after a decline in the functioning of various bodily organs, his doctors said.
Dr. Zeev Rotstein, director of Tel Hashomer hospital, said Sharon's condition had deteriorated over the past two days and that a number of vital organs, including his kidneys, were suffering from "critical malfunction." His family was at his bedside, he added.
"He is in critical condition and his life is definitely in danger," Rotstein told reporters at the hospital, just outside Tel Aviv. "The feeling of the doctors treating him and also that of the family with him is that there is a turn for the worse."
The 85-year-old Sharon, one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures, has been in a coma since suffering a devastating stroke in January 2006. At the time, he was prime minister and at the height of his political power. His condition has largely been out of the spotlight since, as his two sons have cared for him while restricting most access to outsiders.
Although Sharon never regained full consciousness, his family has said he occasionally blinks his eyes and moves his fingers.