Egypt’s former vice president Omar Suleiman, long-time spy chief to deposed president Hosni Mubarak, died on Thursday in the United States, the official MENA news agency reported.
“Former vice president General Omar Suleiman died in the early hours of Thursday in a hospital in the United States,” the agency said.
Suleiman, 75, died in the United States where he was undergoing medical tests, Suleiman’s assistant told Reuters on Thursday.
“He was fine. It came suddenly while he was having medical tests in Cleveland,” said the aide, Hussein Kamal, without giving a reason for Suleiman’s death.
The former intelligence chief stepped briefly into the limelight when he was made vice president days before Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising last year.
Suleiman was ousted Mubarak’s most trusted deputy. He dubbed himself as the country’s “black box,” for detailed government secrets he claimed that he knew.
Suleiman, a pillar of the ousted regime, announced in April that he would be running for the president after initially saying he would stay out of the race.
He was barred from pursuing the country’s top job on a technicality, after the country’s election commission said he failed to get endorsements from 15 provinces as per the law.
Born in on July 2, 1935 to a well-off family in the southern town of Qena, Suleiman graduated from Cairo’s military academy in 1955.
After rising through the ranks of the military, he served as Egypt’s intelligence chief for nearly two decades. For most of that time he played a behind-the-scenes role as the top official in charge of some of the most important issues facing the Egyptian state.
He served as a negotiating partner for the United States, Israel and the Palestinians, orchestrating a series of short-lived truces.