New York Times
CAIRO — Former President Hosni Mubarak’s health deteriorated rapidly and he was rushed to a military hospital on Tuesday, adding to the uncertainty gripping the nation as the ousted strongman’s longtime opponents, the Muslim Brotherhood, battled his onetime allies in the military for political power.
There were conflicting reports about Mr. Mubarak’s condition. Government officials and the state news agency initially said that Mr. Mubarak, 84, had suffered cardiac arrest and a stroke in prison and had been declared “clinically dead” after being taken to a military hospital overlooking the Nile. Other reports said he had been placed on life support. But by early Wednesday, an Interior Ministry spokesman said he was in critical condition but alive.
Mr. Mubarak had been in a prison medical ward since the beginning of the month, when he was given a life sentence in connection with the killing of demonstrators during the 18 days of protests that ended his rule.
The news of his failing health spread quickly through Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising, where tens of thousands of people were protesting the military council governing Egypt. In recent days, the generals had moved to seize the kind of uncontested authority that the former president wielded during his nearly three decades in power.
The confusion over his health injected new volatility into the country’s growing political and constitutional crisis, even as the two candidates to replace Mr. Mubarak as president both declared themselves the winners of the weekend’s election.
Analysts marveled that Mr. Mubarak had lost consciousness at the climactic moment of the struggle over the future of the system he had defined for so long, and just two days after the vote to choose his successor.
“It is very Shakespearean,” said Diaa Rashwan, an analyst at Al Ahram Center, a state-financed research institute. “To himself, he is eternal. There can be nobody after him. He does not want to hear the name of his successor.”