The condition of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
has dramatically deteriorated in the last 24-hours.
Sharon is hospitalized at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer and is in critical condition.
"Over the past hours, there has been a worsening of the condition of former prime minister Ariel Sharon. His condition is described as grave and his family is at his side all the time," a hospital statement said.
Sharon is surrounded by his sons Omri and Gilad,
a source close to the Sharon family said. "Unfortunately, they understand that this is the end, these are Arik's last days or even hours. It his hard. Eight years we have evaded this moment and now it is upon us, there is no escaping it."
Sharon with Bar Lev. (Sinai 1973) (Photo: Gettyimages) Sharon at his farm (Photo: Yossi Rot) Sharon with Abbas (2003) (Photo: Reuters)
Ariel Sharon at Knesset Plenum, 1985 (Photo: Nati Harnik, GPO)
Three days ago, the director general of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Professor Zeev Rotstein gave an update regarding Sharon's condition, and said that "in the last 24 hours the risk on (Sharon's) life has not decreased, and has even increased."
He stressed that even though Sharon's heart has stabilized, there has been deterioration in other organs in his body. "In my opinion, if there won't be a miraculous dramatic change, the situation will continue getting worse by the day," Rotstein said.
Sharon is suffering from a blood infection and kidney failure.
Despite his worsening condition, Ariel Sharon is "fighting like a lion," Rotstein said Sunday.
"Our fighter Arik Sharon is continuing to fight for his life," he said at a press conference, adding that the former prime minister's status is still critical, but doctors were able to stabilize his blood pressure and pulse. Other organs in his body, however, were not functioning, he said.
Sharon is fighting "against all odds," the professor said.
"As of now, his family and children are by his side, and we are continuing to treat him as before," he said. "His organs haven't resumed function – and I'm not sure if we've improved the situation in his kidneys. We're treating him with lots of love and support, but there's not much we can do."
Rotstein was also quick to point out that despite the slight improvement, Sharon was still in immediate danger.
"I can't say I'm optimistic, maybe I'm a bit more pessimistic than I was before," he said. "We always knew that he had a good heart, and now we know that he has a strong heart."
About a month ago Sharon's condition worsened, and he was taken to emergency surgery and stabilized, but in the past few days another troubling deterioration in his condition was noted.
Sharon, the 11th prime minister of Israel
who was in office between 2001 and 2006, has been in a coma for eight years, after suffering a stroke during his term.
The first signs of a medical crisis came in late December 2005, when Sharon suffered a light stroke and was hospitalized for several days at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.
On January 4, 2006, just days after returning as prime minister, he suffered another critical stroke and was once again admitted to hospital. His responsibilities were transferred to then Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,
who later became acting prime minister.
The first operation on Sharon's brain was conducted by four senior Hadassah doctors. Though they managed to stop the internal bleeding in his brain, his condition continued to deteriorate while still admitted in the intensive care unit at the Department of Neurosurgery.
During the entire time, Sharon's sons and closest advisers were with him at the hospital. The president, rabbis, politicians and world leaders all prayed for his health.
Omri Efraim and AFP contributed to this report