Former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon Dies at 85

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By Ben Hoppenworth

JERUSALEM (AP) - The son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says his father has died.

The 85-year-old Sharon had been in a coma since a debilitating stroke eight years ago. The Sheba Medical Center that has been treating Sharon said last week that his health has been declining. Sharon had been suffered from failure vital organs including his kidneys shortly before his death.

His son Gilad Sharon said: "He has gone. He went when he decided to go."

The hard-charging Sharon was one of Israel's most iconic figures.

After a distinguished, and controversial, military career, he went into politics and held a number of Cabinet posts.

He was elected prime minister in 2001, and despite his hardline views, led Israel's historic withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.

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