Ariel Sharon Turns 80 in Coma

No change in former Israeli PM's condition, doctors not optimistic
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 3:55 AM CST
In this 2006 Israeli schoolchildren carrying an Ariel Sharon photo album to present to Israel's ill prime minister, at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem. Ariel Sharon turned 80 years old yesterday,...   (Getty images)
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(Newser) – Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon turned 80 yesterday, still in a coma from a massive stroke in January 2006. Family members gathered at the hospital to mark the occasion, the Jerusalem Post reports. Among them was his eldest son, Omri, due to start a seven-month jail sentence today for illegally raising funds for one of his dad's campaigns.

Sharon served as Israel's prime minister for five years. His deputy, Ehud Olmert, was elected to succeed the former Haganah fighter after he was incapacitated. A former Sharon adviser said there has been little change in Sharon's condition over the last year, though his vital signs are good. "I understand that the doctors are not optimistic," said the aide when asked if Sharon is expected to emerge from the coma.