Prolific Egyptian political writer and insider, Heikal, dies

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Egypt's state television says one of the country's most prolific political authors and insiders, Mohamed Heikal, has died. He was 92.

Heikal died in Cairo on Wednesday. He had recently suffered kidney problems that required weekly dialysis.

The popular author rose to prominence in the 1950s as a confidante and Cabinet minister under Gamal Abdel-Nasser, Egypt's socialist president who ruled from 1954 until his death in 1970.

But Abdel-Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, jailed Heikal in 1981, along with hundreds of government critics. Hosni Mubarak released Heikal when he became president after Sadat was assassinated in 1981, but kept him at arm's length throughout his 29 years in office.

Despite his ailments, Heikal was frequently on TV in the past few years, sharing his political views in lengthy TV interviews.