Ariel Sharon, the controversial self-styled "warrior" who dominated Israel's military and political landscape for decades, has died eight years after a massive stroke left him in a vegetative state.
The former army general and prime minister suffered multiple organ failure over the new year. His sons were at his bedside at the Sheba Medical Centre, a long-term care facility near Tel Aviv, where Sharon has lain since May 2006.
For many Israelis he will be mourned as a giant figure who played a key role in shaping Israel both as a soldier and a statesman.
Among Palestinians and leftwing Israelis, Sharon, 85, will be remembered as a powerful and reviled champion of Israel's colonial settlement project, and the political force behind the construction of the vast concrete and steel separation barrier that snakes through the West Bank. Many will not forgive his role in the killing of hundreds of Palestinians in refugee camps in Beirut in the 1980s.
His body is expected to lie at the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, to allow members of the public to pay their respects ahead of an official state ceremony, to which international figures will be invited. The former prime minister is expected to be buried at his ranch in the Negev desert, next to his wife's grave.