AGENCIES, Cairo: Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s autocratic former president was toppled during the Arab spring protests in 2011, died aged 91 on Tuesday.
Mubarak became a symbol of brutal authority after taking power in 1981 following the assassination of Anwar Sadat. His reign was marked by cruel police state supported by a network of military businesses and corrupt businessmen.
The former president’s family said he was recently taken to hospital and had entered intensive care following an operation to remove a stomach tumour. A statement from the office of the Egyptian presidency praised Mubarak’s record as a war hero for the 1973 war against Israel, naming him “one of the leaders and heroes of the glorious October war”.
“He assumed command of the air force during the war that restored dignity and pride to the Arab nation,” it said.
Egypt’s armed forces also released a statement of mourning for the air force officer and military leader. “The General Command of the Armed Forces mourns one of its sons, and one of the leaders of the glorious October war,” they said.
US administrations had showered him with billions of dollars, viewing him as a bulwark against regional terrorism and a key driver of “cold peace” with Israel. But unemployment and poverty continued to grow, and in 2011 he was toppled in the Arab spring uprisings that began in Tunisia.