updated 11/3/2006 6:37:45 AM ET 2006-11-03T11:37:45

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was taken Friday to an intensive care unit after his overall condition and heart function deteriorated, a spokesman for the hospital said.

Sharon, who has been in a coma since suffering a major stroke in January, contracted a new infection that affected his heart, said David Weinberg, a spokesman for the Sheba Medical Center outside Tel Aviv.

“At this point, his condition is stable,” Weinberg said.

Experts have speculated that because of the severity of his stroke, Sharon, Israel’s prime minister from 2001 to 2006, is unlikely to recover.

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