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Ariel Sharon dies after 8 years in coma

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(CNN) — Israelis mourned the death of Ariel Sharon on Saturday, the former prime minister and controversial military leader who succumbed after eight years in a coma.

President Shimon Peres,issued a statement eulogizing his “dear friend Arik Sharon,” calling him by his well-known nickname.

He said Sharon “lost his final battle today” and called him “one of Israel’s “great protectors and most important architects.”

“Arik was a brave soldier and a daring leader who loved his nation and his nation loved him,” Peres said.

“He knew how to take difficult decisions and implement them. We all loved him and he will be greatly missed. I send my condolences to the Sharon family, may he rest in peace,” Peres said.

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