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Sharon taken to hospital after stroke


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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was taken to a hospital Sunday night after suffering a mild stroke, a hospital official said.


"Our tests have shown that the prime minister had a mild CVA," said Dr. Yuval Weiss, deputy director of Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, using medical jargon for "cerebral vascular accident," or stroke.


During the tests, Sharon's condition improved, and he was conscious throughout, Weiss told reporters. (Watch a report on Sharon and ramifications for Israeli politics -- 2:38)


No invasive procedures were needed, and Sharon "is now speaking with his family" and members of his government, Weiss said.


Though he was expected to remain in the hospital briefly for observation, Sharon was expected to be discharged "shortly," Weiss added.


A source in the prime minister's office said the 77-year-old leader had completed a full day of work in his Jerusalem office that included meeting with former Labor Party leader Shimon Peres and was en route to his ranch in the Negev Desert when he told aides he was not well.


The source added that Sharon called one of his sons at 7:50 p.m. (11:50 a.m. ET) and told him he was ill.


The convoy turned around and sped to Jerusalem's main hospital, arriving at 8:05 p.m. (12:05 p.m. ET), a spokesman at the medical center said.


Israeli media reported that Sharon was wheeled into the hospital on a stretcher, conscious but confused.


One of Sharon's two sons, Omri, arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter.


In Gaza, celebratory gunfire broke out, and Palestinians passed around food treats in the streets.


Sharon earned the enmity of some Palestinians after a government commission found him indirectly responsible for the September 1982 massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Lebanese Christians.


This year, he orchestrated Israel's historic pullout from Gaza in hopes of jump-starting the peace process with Palestinians.


The Palestinian Authority's chief negotiator, Saeb Erakat, expressed concern for Sharon's health and wished him a speedy recovery.


Sharon, who is overweight, has never released his medical records. He has said he has no major health problems.


Nicknamed "The Bulldozer" for his stamina and long working hours, he had not been in ill health.


The popular veteran military and political figure is widowed and lives alone. He has been prime minister since 2001.


He recently broke with the Likud Party and is running for re-election as head of the moderate, newly formed Kadima Party in a contest scheduled for March 28.


Ehud Olmert, the country's vice prime minister and finance minister and the man who would replace Sharon in the event of his death, was in Haifa in northern Israel, where he was watching a soccer game. He did not alter his schedule.


CNN's John Vause contributed to this report.

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I know some people who would call this "G-d working in mysterious ways." Do I? I don't know, but the way his administration has handled the post-disengagement has been atrocious, almost as if Bush and Sharon went to the same school on how to treat evacuees.


Moreover, you gotta have Schadenfreude at all those who jumped ship to hook themselves to the Sharon, I mean Avanti, I mean Kadima party.

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