Reports conflicted Wednesday over whether the 84-year-old former president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, had died.
The state-run Middle East News Agency, citing medical sources, said he was declared clinically dead shortly after arriving late Tuesday night at a military hospital in Cairo, where he was taken after suffering a stroke and cardiac arrest earlier in the day.
But Gen. Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, told CNN, "He is not clinically dead as reported, but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition."
Mubarak was taken by helicopter to the military hospital in the Maadi suburb of Cairo, Shaheen said. "He had a heart attack and his heart stopped and he was saved by electric shocks, then placed on respirator," he said. "His pulse is 40. He then got a brain clot. He is NOT clinically dead as reported but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition."
Adel Saeed, the official spokesman of the Egyptian prosecutor, had said earlier, "We were informed by prison authority that Mubarak's heart has stopped and they used electric shocks and CPR to resurrect him. He is now on an artificial respirator and doctors from the armed forces and International Medical Center will inspect him."
Nile TV reported that Mubarak had suffered a stroke.
He was taken from Tora prison hospital to Maadi military hospital, his defense lawyer, Fareed El Deeb, told CNN. "He has suffered a stroke but he is not dead," El Deeb said.
But the prosecutor and the military council denied Mubarak had been moved.
His health has been reported to be in decline since he was ousted as president of Egypt in February 2011 and found guilty of charges related to the killings of hundreds of anti-government demonstrators during the revolution.
Last week, an Interior Ministry spokesman said he was comatose; the spokesman said he suffered from high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats and difficulty breathing.
"We should be skeptical," said Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
"There's a great Arab expression I like and it asks the following question: When you're told that someone is dead, you say, 'Is he dead and buried, or just dead?' I think we are in the middle of this kind of situation."
"Clinically dead is not a phrase that is commonly used, but when it is used, what it usually means is that someone is brain dead," said CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. "In the United States, we would call this person dead because they have no brain activity."