Omar Suleiman, the spy chief under former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, died Thursday while he was in the United States undergoing medical tests.
Suleiman, 76, who also was appointed as Mubarak’s vice-president during the uprising that ousted Mubarak, was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Cleveland, Reuters reported. Suleiman’s body will likely be returned to Egypt for burial.
“He was fine. It came suddenly while he was having medical tests in Cleveland,” his aide, Hussein Kamal, told the news agency. He did not elaborate on the cause of death.
Several months ago, Suleiman made an attempt to run for president but was disqualified.
Suleiman, who long remained in the shadows under Mubarak, became more well-known when Mubarak appointed him vice-president during the 18-day uprising before Mubarak was toppled on February 11, 2011.
Suleiman remained a deeply unpopular figure among Egyptian activists.
“The world is a safer place without Omar Suleiman,” wrote one Twitter user called Hossam on Thursday, reacting to the spy chief’s death.
When he was in charge of the intelligence agency, Suleiman was accused of using torture and harboring close ties with Israel and the United States.
Nadim Houry, the Human Rights Watch deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, tweeted that “both Omar Suleiman and [recently slain Syrian general] Assef Shawkat were favorite interlocutors of western intelligence agencies.”
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