The director of the hospital treating Ariel Sharon says the former prime minister's already critical medical condition is deteriorating further.

Dr. Zeev Rotstein of Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv said on Friday that Sharon's life remains in danger.

He says Sharon is fighting and is not in pain.

The 85-year-old Sharon has been in a coma for eight years after a devastating stroke incapacitated him at the peak of his political power. He was reported in "critical condition" Thursday.

Rotstein says "there is a slow and gradual deterioration," with doctors now seeing not only Sharon's kidneys but other vital organs malfunctioning as well.

Sharon was one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures. A prominent hard-line voice over the decades, he was elected prime minister in 2001.