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Former Egyptian vice president dies in U.S. hospital, officials say

From Mohamed Fadel Fahmy, CNN
updated 10:39 PM EDT, Thu July 19, 2012
Omar Suleiman served as vice president under President Hosni Mubarak before his ouster.
Omar Suleiman served as vice president under President Hosni Mubarak before his ouster.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Omar Suleiman died of complications from amyloidosis, Cleveland Clinic says
  • He was disqualified from a recent presidential election
  • Suleiman announced Hosni Mubarak's resignation in February 2011

Cairo (CNN) -- Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian vice president under Hosni Mubarak who announced the president's resignation to the world, has died in a U.S. hospital at age 76, officials said Thursday.

A family member said the former spy chief had "water on his lungs and suffered heart problems that led to his death after his health deteriorated in the past three weeks."

He had traveled to Germany for medical reasons before for traveling Monday to a medical center in Cleveland.

Suleiman died early Thursday with his family at his side at the Cleveland Clinic, which announced that his death was due to "complications from amyloidosis, a disease that affects multiple organs including the heart and kidneys."

His body was to arrive Friday morning in Egypt and his funeral was to be held after prayers, relatives said.

Head of Egypt's powerful intelligence services, Suleiman also served as vice president under Mubarak before his ouster.

In a somber one-minute television announcement in February 2011, Suleiman announced that Mubarak had resigned his post as president and declared that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would run the country's affairs.

Timeline: Unrest in Egypt

The announcement followed an 18-day popular uprising in Egypt that saw tens of thousands take to the streets to demand Mubarak's ouster.

Suleiman most recently made headlines when he entered the race for Egypt's first democratically elected president in the eleventh hour and then failed to gather enough signatures required to be on the ballot.

He was disqualified from the election by a panel that included members connected to the Mubarak regime, which suggested that his elimination from the presidential race was not politically motivated.

Suleiman had headed Egypt's intelligence since 1993, maintained close CIA ties and was often criticized by rights groups for his heavy-handed approach with suspected militants.

Born into poverty in the Egyptian town of Qena, he enrolled in the country's prestigious military academy and was decorated for his performance in the wars against Israel in 1967 and 1973.

In June 1995, both Suleiman and Mubarak survived an assassination attempt during an African summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

CNN's Saad Abedine and Miriam Falco contributed to this report.

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