Former Israeli President Shimon Peres was in "serious but stable" condition after suffering a major stroke, doctors treating him said Wednesday, as the nation rallied in prayer and support for the 93-year-old elder statesman and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Dr. Yitzhak Kreiss, director of the Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, said Peres was in a medically induced coma to allow him to rest after experiencing significant bleeding in the brain, the AP reports. Peres was rushed to the hospital Tuesday after feeling ill, and following a battery of tests he was diagnosed with having suffered a stroke. Kreiss said Peres was being transferred to the neurosurgical intensive care unit. Israeli media reported Peres was "fighting for his life," but Rafi Walden, Peres' son-in-law and personal physician, said there appeared to be no imminent threat to his life anymore.
Walden said Peres suffered a stroke in the right side of the brain and was being ventilated and sedated. However, he gave an optimistic forecast, saying all Peres' physical parameters were stable and his blood tests were good. Peres was responsive when addressed, Walden added. Peres is the elder statesman of Israeli politics, one of the country's most admired symbols, and the last surviving link to its founding fathers. Over a seven-decade career, he's held virtually every senior political office, including three stints as prime minister and extended terms as foreign, defense, and finance ministers. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who defeated Peres in 1996 for the job, wished him a speedy recovery on Facebook: "Shimon, we love you and the entire nation wishes you get well." (Read more Shimon Peres stories.)