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Published: Sunday January 5, 2014 MYT 6:35:01 PM
Updated: Sunday January 5, 2014 MYT 6:35:57 PM

Israel's ex-PM Sharon clinging to life - doctors

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks to the media during a news conference in Tel Aviv December 1, 2005. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks to the media during a news conference in Tel Aviv December 1, 2005. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in a coma since a 2006 stroke, is clinging to life after his condition took a turn for the worse last week, the head of the hospital treating him said on Sunday.

Sharon was fighting like a "true lion," Zeev Rotstein told reporters. But he added: "Our general assessment is there is no way to overcome this crisis ... I am perhaps more pessimistic than I was before."

The 85-year-old's condition sharply deteriorated last week, with doctors reporting a life-threatening collapse of vital organs. Rotstein said Sharon's two sons remained at his bedside in the Sheba Medical Centre near Tel Aviv.

One of Israel's most famous generals, Sharon left his mark on the region through military invasion, Jewish settlement building on captured land and a shock, unilateral decision to pull Israeli troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

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