Israeli ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres suffered a stroke on Tuesday and the 93-year-old was being treated at a hospital near Tel Aviv, his office said.
Peres was admitted to Sheba Medical Centre at Tel HaShomer in Ramat Gan “after suffering a stroke”, his office said in a statement.
After first reporting that “his condition is stable and he is fully conscious”, his office said he had been sedated and was breathing with the aid of a respirator.
The last of Israel’s founding fathers, Peres has held nearly every major office in the country, including prime minister twice and president from 2007 to 2014.
“Former president Peres’ doctors sedated and intubated him so as to best facilitate the continuation of his treatment,” it said.
“He will undergo a CT scan so as to get a full and updated assessment of his situation.”
Speculation mounted over his condition late Tuesday in Israel, with local media reporting that he was in serious condition.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had spoken with the director of the hospital, Israel’s largest, to receive an update on Peres’s condition, a spokesperson said.
“The Prime Minister conveyed the prayers of the entire nation for a quick recovery,” his office said.
President Reuven Rivlin said in a statement he was “following with concern the updates from the hospital, and pray together with the entire people for my friend Shimon’s recovery”.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also wished the elder statesman a rapid recovery.
In January, Peres was hospitalised twice for heart trouble.
In the first instance, the hospital said he had suffered a “mild cardiac event” and underwent catheterisation to widen an artery.
He was rushed to hospital a second time days later with chest pains and an irregular heartbeat.
A co-architect of the 1993 Oslo peace accords, Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated the following year, and then-Palestinian president Yasser Arafat.
Peres has sought to maintain an active schedule despite his age, particularly through events related to his Peres Center for Peace.
When leaving hospital on January 19, Peres said he was keen to get back to work.
“I’m so happy to return to work, that was the whole purpose of this operation,” he told reporters.
A former hawk-turned-dove, he once confided that the secret to his longevity was daily gymnastics, eating little and drinking one or two glasses of good wine.
He once hawkishly rejected any compromise with hostile Arab states, but said he was converted after 1977, when Egyptian president Anwar Sadat made a historic visit to Jerusalem, leading to the first Arab-Israeli peace treaty.