SHEBA MEDICAL CENTRE, NEAR TEL AVIV, ISRAEL (SEPTEMBER 28, 2016) (REUTERS) – Former Israeli president and elder statesman Shimon Peres died in Tel Aviv on Wednesday (September 28) aged 93, family and hospital official said.
Peres, an indefatigable campaigner for Middle East peace who jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994, was hospitalised following a stroke two weeks ago.
Media reports said U.S President Barack Obama was planning to attend Peres’s funeral, which Israeli media said was expected to be held on Friday, although details of the ceremony were not made public.
The Israeli cabinet was to convene for a special session of mourning at 10 a.m (07:00 GMT).
An official announcement of Peres’s death was made at the hospital by his son Chemi and son-in-law Rafi Walden, who said he died without suffering and that he had donated his corneas for transplant.
“Today, with deep sorrow, we bid farewell to our beloved father, the ninth president of Israel, Shimon Peres. He was one of the founding fathers of the state of Israel and served our people before we even had a country of our own. He worked tirelessly for Israel from the very first day of the state to the last day of his life,” his son, Chemi, said.
“Our father’s legacy has always been the future. ‘Look to tomorrow’ he told us, ‘Build Israel’s future with courage and with wisdom and always continue to strive for peace’. We were privileged to have been part of his private family but today we sense that the entire nation of Israel and the global community mourn his great loss. We share this pain together,” he added.
Walden, who was also Peres’s personal physician, said: “Shimon Peres left us without suffering. The wonderful team at the Sheba Medical Centre fought for his life with all their might while ensuring he did not experience pain and protecting his dignity. Until the day of the stroke he was fully fit. Ten months ago he suffered a minor heart attack treated at the Sheba Medical Centre and his recovery was astounding.”
Peres was part of almost every major development in Israel since the country’s founding in 1948. In a career spanning nearly 70 years, he served in a dozen cabinets and was twice a Labour prime minister.
He shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with the late former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat for reaching an interim peace deal in 1993 which never turned into a lasting treaty.