Sat. Jan 11, 2014 Israel News

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  • BREAKING: Former PM Ariel Sharon dies at 85
  • Sharon will be buried beside his wife Lily at Sycamore Ranch
  • The president, Israeli and world leaders mourn death of Sharon

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died Saturday after a significant deterioration in his medical condition over the past two weeks. Sharon, who was 85, was comatose for the past eight years. Sharon would have turned 86 next month. His family gathered at the hospital to be with him in his final moments. His sons Omri and Gilad had been by his side since his condition deteriorated on January 1. Gilad Sharon reacted to the death of his father on Saturday, saying that “he went when he decided to go.” Professor Shlomo Noy, the director of the Rehabilitation Unit at Sheba Medical Center, officially announced Sharon’s death at a press conference . He added that, on Saturday, Sharon’s heart had weakened and he peacefully separated from his family.
A state funeral will be organized for Sharon by the Prime Minister’s Office. Current and former world leaders are expected to come to Israel for the funeral. His body will lie at the Knesset in Jerusalem starting Sunday at noon. on Monday morning an official ceremony will take place at the Knesset before the funeral on his Negev ranch beside his wife Lily, who died in 2000.
On January 4, 2006, Ariel “Arik” Sharon was at the height of his political power: His newly founded Kadima party had just beat the rival parties to a pulp in pre-elections polls, which predicted it securing 40 Knesset seats in the approaching election.
Then in a single moment, the 78-year-old Sharon fell from the political stage, suffering his second serious stroke within two-and-half weeks and bringing his electoral blitz to a halt. Sharon was one of Israel’s legendary politicians and military leaders.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his “deep sorrow” over the passing of former prime minister Ariel Sharon, calling him “a great warrior and military leader. President Shimon Peres mourned the loss of the former prime minister, whom he referred to as “my close friend. Peres stated that Sharon had been a brave soldier and statesman, as well as one of Israel’s greatest defenders. The president added that Sharon was a fearless leader who knew how to make decisions and act upon them.
Ehud Olmert, who replaced Sharon as prime minister, mourned the loss: “For his entire life Arik stood in the line of fire – in the place where Israel’s destiny is determined.”

He added: “In the eight years since he collapsed he was missed by the State of Israel and by me personally. His absence will continue to be felt in the future as well.

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