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Israeli Ex-President Shimon Peres ‘Stable’ After Stroke

Shimon Peres Suffers a Major Stroke 0:47

JERUSALEM — Former Israeli President Shimon Peres was in "serious but stable" condition after suffering a major stroke, doctors treating the 93-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate said.

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.

Peres was rushed to hospital Tuesday after feeling ill.

Image: Barack Obama, Shimon Peres
President Barack Obama awards Shimon Peres the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House on June 13, 2012. Susan Walsh / AP, file

Israeli media reported that 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. The question was what kind of damage was sustained and what kind of recovery he could make, Walden said.

In a phone briefing with reporters, 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, and even squeezed his hand when he asked him to.

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 minister. He won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in reaching an interim peace agreement with the Palestinians.

He had remained active since completing his seven-year term as president in 2014, refusing to bow into retirement. His spokeswoman Ayelet Frisch said Tuesday was no exception, with Peres waking early to read the daily newspapers before delivering an hour-long lecture and then uploading a video to his Facebook account in which he encouraged the public to buy locally made products. In the video, he appears weary but is otherwise alert and coherent.

Long a divisive figure in Israeli politics, Peres finally became one of Israel's most popular public figures in his later years.