CAIRO (AP) — Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian leader who for nearly 30 years was a fixture in Mideast politics before being forced by the military to resign after nationwide protests that were part of the Arab world’s 2011 pro-democracy upheaval, died today, the country’s state-run TV said. He was 91.
Throughout his rule, he was a stalwart U.S. ally, a bulwark against Islamic militancy and guardian of Egypt’s peace with Israel. But to the tens of thousands of young Egyptians who rallied for 18 days of unprecedented street protests in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square and elsewhere in 2011, Mubarak was a relic, a latter-day pharaoh.
In recent years, Mubarak and his family continued to live in Egypt under current president and former military man Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. They were largely exonerated for crimes they were accused of while he was in power, and were rumored to enjoy a comfortable, if isolated existence far from the limelight. El-Sissi left much of the Mubarak’s government apparatus intact, and his administration saw the return of a number of former Mubarak-era officials.
It was a far-cry from protesters’ calls for Mubarak’s imprisonment for theft. Egypt’s demonstrations were inspired by the Tunisian revolt, and harnessed the power of social media to muster tumultuous throngs, unleashing popular anger over the graft and brutality that shadowed his rule. In the end, with millions massed in Tahrir Square and other city centers around the country, and even marching to the doorstep of Mubarak’s palace, the military that long nurtured him pushed him aside on Feb. 11, 2011. The generals took power, hoping to preserve what they could of the system he headed.
The state TV said Mubarak died at a Cairo hospital where he had undergone an unspecified surgery. The report said he had health complications but offered no other details. One of his sons, Alaa, announced over the weekend that the former president was in intensive care after undergoing surgery on Jan. 23.
Since his arrest in April 2011, Mubarak spent the nearly six years in jail in hospitals. Following his release, he was taken to an apartment in Cairo’s Heliopolis district.