The government of Uzbekistan says ailing President Islam Karimov is in a critical condition.

Friday's announcement follows days of unofficial reports that Karimov was at death's door or even dead. His daughter Lola said earlier this week the 78-year old had suffered a brain hemorrhage.

Karimov has run an authoritarian regime in the Central Asian nation since 1989, suppressing opposition and cultivating no apparent successor. He hasn't been seen in public since mid-August, and his government last weekend admitted he was ill.

Uzbekistan on Thursday celebrated its Independence Day and it was widely assumed that if the government was to make an announcement on his condition, they would not break the news until after the festivities.