(VIDEO) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon complained of feeling unwell Sunday evening and was rushed to an emergency room at Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital where doctors determined he had suffered a mild stroke.
Sharon, 77, is now said to be in good condition but he will be kept overnight at the hospital for observation and tests.
Video: Channel 2
Aides said Sharon felt unwell after finishing a series of meetings at his Jerusalem office and was taken to Hadassah hospital, where he underwent a brain scan.
"He lost consciousness on the way to hospital and then regained it," one medic told reporters.
"He is conscious, speaking and joking," Channel 1 television quoted an unidentified doctor as saying.
Sharon reportedly asked to be released from the hospital this evening, but doctors recommended he remain under supervision. "The prime minister wishes to thank all those who wished him well," an associate said.
"I feel much better. I'm fine. I'm sorry for bothering the whole hospital," the prime minister's aides quoted Sharon as saying.
The prime minister's personal physician, Professor Bolek Goldman, said that "the prime minister is fully conscious, and he asked me why it took me so long to arrive. He suffered a minor stroke, and there is no permanent damage."
Goldman added: "The prime minister has been under heavy pressure recently but his health is good."
As news broke out that the prime minister had lost consciousness, scores of reporters flocked to Hadassah, which was under heavy Police and Shin Bet security upon Sharon’s arrival.
Hadassah's deputy director, Dr. Yuval Weiss, addressed the anxious crowd moments after the initial reports, reassuring that the prime minister "is fully conscious," but refused to answer questions.
Omri Sharon arrives at hospital (Photo: AP)
'Dad, go to hospital immediately'
The television station said Sharon had been speaking on the telephone from his car with one of his sons, Gilad, when he told him: "I don't feel well."
"Dad, go to hospital immediately," Gilad replied, according to the television report
Sharon's motorcade then sped to the hospital, where doctors diagnosed a minor stroke caused by a blockage of blood to the brain, hospital sources said.
Eyewitnesses said Sharon looked dazed and tired upon his arrival at Hadassah.
Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will replace Sharon should the prime minister be unable to function, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said. Olmert made his way to the hospital in order to receive an update on Sharon's condition.
Shas Party Chairman Eli Yishai spoke with Government Secretary Yisrael Maimon and inquired about the condition of Sharon, whom he intends to visit as soon as possible.
The Shas chairman also conveyed wishes for a speedy recovery on behalf of the party's spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Palestinians rejoice in Gaza upon hearing news
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired celebration shots upon hearing the news of Sharon being taken to hospital for feeling unwell.
A member of the Popular Resistance Committees told Ynet that Sharon fell ill because of the stressed caused by the latest wage of Qassam rockets over the last few days. “God answered our prayers and didn’t disappoint us,” the official said.
A member of the extreme right Kahane group said he wished “God takes Sharon away.” Kahane members have called on followers to pray that the prime minister’s health deteriorates.
Efrat Weiss, Ronny Sofer, Ali Waked, Attila Somfalvi and Reuters contributed to this report