Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s defining political figures and a Nobel peace prize laureate, has died at the age of 93, two weeks after having a stroke.
Peres had twice served as prime minister of Israel and later as the country’s ninth president. He had been seriously ill on a respirator in an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv and died after his condition deteriorated sharply.
One of Israel’s defining political figures and a Nobel peace prize laureate dies at the age of 93, two weeks after having a stroke. Follow the latest updates here.
His defining achievement was as one of the key architects of the Oslo peace accords, for which he was jointly awarded the Nobel peace prize with the then Israeli prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat, the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Peres’s death was formally confirmed on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 morning by his son Chemi in a news conference at the hospital where his father had been treated.
“Today with deep sorrow we bid farewell to our beloved father, the ninth president of Israel,” he said. “Our father’s legacy has always been to look to tomorrow. We were privileged to be part of his private family, but today we sense that the entire nation of Israel and the global community share this great loss. We share this pain together.”
Reports in the Israeli media said that the former president’s coffin will lie in state in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on Thursday ahead of his funeral on Friday.
Within hours of his death, tributes to Peres began from world leaders. In a statement, President Barack Obama described him as “the essence of Israel itself”.
He added: “As Americans, we are in his debt because, having worked with every US president since John F Kennedy, no one did more over so many years as Shimon Peres to build the alliance between our two countries – an unbreakable alliance that today is closer and stronger than it has ever been.”
Former president George HW Bush also praised “his unyielding determination and principle”. “Shimon Peres time and again helped guide his beloved country through the crucible of mortal challenge.”
Former president Bill Clinton and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said they had “lost a true and treasured friend” following news of the death. The Clintons said Israel had lost a leader “who championed its security, prosperity and limitless possibilities from its birth to his last day on Earth”.
They called him “a genius with a big heart who used his gifts to imagine a future of reconciliation, not conflict”.