Agencies | Updated: June 20, 2012 08:00 IST
Muhammad Hosni El Sayed Mubarak was born on May 4, 1928 in the Nile Delta village of Menufiyah. He rose through the ranks of the air force and fought in repeated wars with Israel, before supporting Anwar Sadat in pursuing peace with the Jewish state. He became Commander of the Air Force and Egyptian Deputy Minister of Defence in 1972. President Sadat appointed him Vice-President in April 1975.
On October 6, 1981, Vice-President Mubarak rose to power unexpectedly, when then Anwar Sadat was gunned down by Islamist militants at a military parade in Cairo. Mr Mubarak took office a week later and was approved as president in a referendum in November.
His was a spectacular fall from grace that sent shock waves across the Middle East and beyond when he announced his resignation on February 11, 2011 after an 18-day popular revolt and the military took power. Until anti-government protests erupted on January 25, Mr Mubarak seemed untouchable as president of the most populous nation in the Arab world, backed by the United States and the military, from whose ranks he had emerged.
Mr Mubarak has survived 10 attempts on his life. Islamic fundamentalist groups, including Al-Jihad, Gamaa Islamiyya and Talaeh al-Fatah, were responsible for most of the attempts. The first direct attempt was in 1993, a year after Islamists launched a violent campaign to topple the secular government, when a bid to fire rockets at Mr Mubarak's plush Cairo residence was foiled. Later attempts included a plot to car-bomb the presidential motorcade in Cairo. In 1995, militants opened fire on the presidential motorcade in Addis Ababa, a year after they tried to kill Mubarak with explosives as he was due to meet Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at a military airport.
With his jet black hair and aquiline nose, Mr Mubarak had a reputation for vigour and was once known to play squash almost daily. But that was dented in 2003 when he fainted while addressing parliament. Officials blamed his collapse on a cold and the fact that he had been fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Mr Mubarak's health was usually a taboo subject in Egypt and the father of two (Alaa and Gamaal), whose wife Suzanne is half Welsh, kept his private life a carefully guarded secret. In 2004, he underwent surgery in Germany for a slipped disc, and he returned to Germany in March 2010 for the removal of his gall bladder and a growth on the small intestine. Rumours that he had died under the knife were dispelled when state television showed him recovering.
His ties with the United States and Israel drew criticism from across the region, especially during the 2006 Israeli war in Lebanon and Israel's Gaza offensive in 2008-2009. Domestic opponents accused Washington of turning a blind eye to human rights abuses, corruption and the Mubarak regime's failure to push ahead with badly needed reforms.
In March 2005, street protests by the Kefaya (Enough) Movement drew hundreds across Egypt to oppose a fifth six-year term for Hosni Mubarak or any attempt to install his son Gamaal in his place. By May that year, the Parliament voted to change the constitution to allow contested presidential elections. Mr Mubarak was sworn in for a fifth consecutive term after winning the first multi-candidate presidential vote on September 7. Rights groups said the vote was marred by abuses. His closest rival, Ayman Nour, came in a distant second and was later jailed on charges he said were politically motivated.
A parliamentary election, in November 2010, eliminated opposition to Mubarak's ruling party in the assembly before a 2011 presidential vote. The Brotherhood and several other opposition groups boycotted the parliamentary election.
In late January 2011, anti-government protests begin across Egypt, driven by discontent over poverty, repression and corruption. Mr Mubarak ordered troops and tanks into cities overnight to quell the demonstrations, but protests continued. On February 10, Mr Mubarak transferred powers to Vice-president Omar Suleiman but refused to leave office immediately. Enraged protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square virtually forced Mr Mubarak to step down, as a military council took control.
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