updated 11/6/2006 3:23:20 AM ET 2006-11-06T08:23:20

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, comatose after a stroke suffered in January, has been moved out of an intensive care unit after treatment for a heart infection, the hospital treating him said on Monday.

“His heart function has improved after being treated for an infection and his overall condition has stabilized,” Sheba Medical Center, a facility near Tel Aviv, said in a statement.

Sharon, 78, was taken from the hospital’s respiratory rehabilitation ward to its intensive care unit on Friday after developing the infection.

He has been comatose since suffering a brain hemorrhage on Jan. 4. Comatose victims of strokes are often prone to infections and those in the heart are particularly severe.

Elected prime minister in 2001, Sharon was replaced by Ehud Olmert after his stroke and ahead of a national election won by the centrist Kadima party, which the former general founded and Olmert now leads.

Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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