Sharon Suffers Massive Stroke
Ariel Sharon pictured in 2001. Photo: GPO Israel

January 4, 2006

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon undergoes a series of life-saving operations at Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem to stop bleeding in his brain after experiencing a massive stroke.

Sharon, 77, suffered a minor stroke caused by a blood clot Dec. 18, 2005, and doctors discovered a small hole in his heart that required surgical repair. He is scheduled for the operation Jan. 5, but is rushed to the hospital a day early after feeling ill at his Negev ranch. He suffers the stroke, caused by a cerebral hemorrhage, on the way. There are suspicions that the blood thinners he began taking after the December stroke contributed to the bleeding at the root of the second stroke.

The Hadassah doctors are able to stop the brain bleeding, but Sharon slips into a coma from which he never awakens. Ehud Olmert succeeds him as Kadima party leader and acting prime minister heading into an already-scheduled March election, which Kadima wins. Olmert never attempts the same kind of disengagement from the West Bank that Sharon carried out in the Gaza Strip in 2005, even though Sharon is widely believed to have planned such an operation.

Sharon is moved in May 2006 to a long-term-care facility at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, where he dies Jan. 11, 2014, at age 85 after eight years in a coma.