CAIRO: 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.
“He was undergoing medical tests in Cleveland,” Suleiman's aide Hussein Kamal told AFP, adding that arrangements were being made to return his body to Egypt for burial.
Suleiman was appointed vice president during the uprising that toppled Mubarak.
He left Egypt after a failed bid to run in the country's first ever free presidential elections in May.
Initially travelling to Dubai, he later headed to Germany and then on to the United States for treatment, General Saad al-Abbassi, a member of Suleiman's presidential campaign team, told AFP.
“His health deteriorated recently. He was in the United States with his family,” said Reem Mamdouh, another member of the team.
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.
Suleiman was widely believed to have formed part of the inner circle of Mubarak, who shortly before his fall named the intelligence supremo as vice president.
Born in 1936 to a well-off family in the southern town of Qena, Suleiman graduated from Cairo's military academy in 1955.
Under Mubarak, Suleiman served as a negotiating partner for the United States, Israel and the Palestinians, orchestrating a series of short-lived truces.