Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is dead. He was 85.
Sharon had been in a coma for eight years after suffering a stroke in 2006. He had been running for re-election at the time.
Sharon served as a commander in the Israeli Army from the country's inception.
He later embarked on a political career in Israel, being elected prime minister in 2001. While in office he enacted polarizing policies of disengagement in the Gaza Strip.
Doctors treating Sharon said last week that his health was declining and that he was suffering from vital organ failure.
Many elected officials from New York released statements of sorrow after the news broke.
“Few leaders have demonstrated more courage and sacrifice in service to their country and fellow citizens than former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. For over half a century, Sharon was a beloved and respected figure in Israel, defending his nation as a Commander in the Israeli Army followed by a distinguished career fighting for the best interest of his countrymen at home and abroad,” Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island said in a statement.
“The world has lost one of the strongest defenders of Israel -- a man who fought in nearly every one of Israel's wars and devoted his public life to ensuring that the Jewish state be able to defend itself against those committed to its destruction,” wrote Rep. Eliot Engel, who represents parts of Westchester and the Bronx.