Egyptian military officials on Wednesday denied earlier reports by state television that deposed president Hosni Mubarak was “clinically dead.”
Just after midnight on Tuesday, Egypt’s MENA news agency reported that Mubarak’s heart had stopped and that efforts to resuscitate him had failed.
The former president, who was sentenced to life in prison by an Egyptian court earlier this month, was transferred late Tuesday from prison to a military hospital. Cairo-based al-Ahram reported that he was pronounced dead when he arrived at the hospital.
According to Al Jazeera, doctors at the hospital had confirmed Mubarak’s death, although Reuters simultaneously reported that resuscitation efforts were still ongoing.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the Associated Press quoted an Egyptian security official who said Mubarak had been put on life support. The official gave no further details regarding his condition and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press.
Thousands of protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square shouted “Rumors! Rumors!” when they heard the news of Mubarak’s death. According to Walla News, many demonstrators said the reports were baseless and false, and aimed at dispersing the crowd that had gathered in the downtown square, which has become emblematic of last year’s revolution.
News of Mubarak’s rapidly deteriorating condition began circulating late Tuesday night, just days after an historic runoff presidential election which pitted his former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq against Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi. Official results of the election are expected on Thursday, though both candidates have already claimed victory.
The 84-year-old Mubarak was ousted from office 16 months ago in a popular uprising that ended his 30-year hold on the Egyptian presidency.