Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president and prime minister, whose life story mirrored that of the Jewish state and who was celebrated around the world as a Nobel prize-winning visionary who pushed his country toward peace, died early Wednesday. He was 93. His son, Chemi, confirmed his death Wednesday morning at the hospital where Peres had been treated for the past two weeks, the AP reports. Peres' condition worsened following a major stroke two weeks ago. "Today with deep sorrow we bid farewell to our beloved father, the ninth president of Israel," Chemi Peres said.
Peres—born Shimon Perski on Aug. 2, 1923, in Vishneva, then part of Poland—was one of Israel's most admired leaders and the last surviving link to its founding fathers. In an unprecedented seven-decade political career, Peres filled nearly every position in Israeli public life and was credited with leading the country through some of its most defining moments, from creating its nuclear arsenal in the 1950s, to disentangling its troops from Lebanon in the 1980s, to guiding a skeptical nation into peace talks with the Palestinians in the 1990s. In 2007, he was chosen by parliament for a seven-year term as Israel's ceremonial president, taking the role of elder statesman. President Barack Obama eulogized Peres as a man who represented "the essence of Israel itself." (Read more Shimon Peres stories.)