20 June 2012
Last updated at 15:42
Hosni Mubarak, who was Egypt’s president for almost 30 years until he was ousted by a popular uprising in February 2011, is reportedly on life support at a military hospital in Cairo following a series of strokes.
Mubarak was last seen in public on 2 June 2012, when a court sentenced to him to life in prison for complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters. His health was said to have deteriorated rapidly after his conviction and subsequent transfer to the hospital at Tora jail.
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak was born on 4 May 1928 in a small village in the Nile Delta. Despite a poor background, he graduated from Egypt's Military Academy in 1949 before transferring to the Air Force.
As commander of the Egyptian Air Force and deputy minister of defence, he was instrumental in planning the surprise attack on Israeli forces in the Sinai peninsula at the start of the 1973 Yom Kippur war.
As vice-president, Mubarak was intimately involved in negotiating the Camp David peace agreement with Israel, signed in 1979 by President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Mubarak became president in 1981 after Sadat was assassinated as he stood beside him at a military parade. Few expected he would hold on to the country's top job for so long.
After taking power, Mubarak continued to maintain ties with Israel and cemented relations with the US, which supplied Egypt with billions of dollars of military aid.
To the West, Mubarak was a key ally - a voice of moderation on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
At home, Mubarak intensified the crackdown on the banned opposition Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as radical groups such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Thousands of people were jailed and many tortured.
The repression and his support for the West made Mubarak a target for Islamist extremists. He survived six assassination attempts, with the narrowest escape in 1995 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
He also steadily increased restrictions on peaceful dissent in Egypt, with government critics routinely imprisoned and freedom of expression and assembly limited. The intelligence services were pervasive and many people felt stripped of their dignity.
As he entered his 80s, reports about Mubarak’s declining health provoked speculation as to whether he might step down, and possibly be succeeded by his son, Gamal.
The choice appeared to be firmly in Mubarak’s hands until January 2011, when a popular uprising forced his Tunisian counterpart, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, to step down and flee the country. Egyptian activists inspired by Tunisia’s revolution called a mass anti-government protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
After 18 days of nationwide protests, Mr Mubarak's departure from office was announced on state television by his Vice-President, Omar Suleiman sparking jubilant scenes.
In August 2011, Mubarak went on trial on charges of conspiracy in the killing of unarmed protesters during the last six days of January, and of abusing his powers to amass wealth. He was wheeled into a courtroom in Cairo on a stretcher, because he had reportedly been suffering heart problems.
Prosecutors argued that it was impossible that Mubarak had not ordered police to use deadly force and called for him to be hanged. More than 800 people are thought to have been killed by the police during the uprising. The defence argued that the former president had handed over responsibility for security to the army.
On 2 June 2012, Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison. The judge said no evidence had been presented proving he had directly ordered the killing of protesters, but that he was an accessory to murder because he failed to stop the killings. The corruption charges were dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.