Ariel Sharon was born Ariel Scheinerman on Feb. 26, 1928. He served in the Israeli Defense Service from 1948-1973 and 1974-1976. He also attended three universities: Hebrew University, Staff College in England and Tel Aviv University, where he earned a law degree in 1966.
One of the things Sharon was known for in the military was establishing the elite Unit 101. He's pictured here with other members of the unit in 1955. Sharon is standing in the top row, second from the left.
Sharon rose through the ranks of the Israeli Defense Force, being promoted from major to colonel to brigade commander of the Armored Corps to chief of staff of the Southern Command to major general of the Army. He's pictured here as a colonel in 1966.
After his military service, Sharon held several posts in the Israeli government. He won a special election for prime minister on Feb. 6, 2001. He served as prime minister March 7, 2001 until April 11, 2006, when the Israeli Cabinet declares Sharon permanently incapacitated following a major stroke in January 2006 that left him in a coma.
Sharon touches the stones of the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, as he prays while visiting Judiasm's holiest site in Jerusalem's Old City Feb. 7, 2001, the morning after he was elected as Israel's prime minister.
Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (left), and U.S. Army Col. Thomas M. Jordan, commander of the troops, escort Sharon as he "inspects the troops" at the River Parade Field, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. in 2001.
From the left, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. David Ivry, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk pose for a group photo at the Pentagon.
Sharon is pictured during a defense meeting held at the Pentagon in 2002.
President George W. Bush discusses the Middle East peace process with Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan in 2003.
U.S. President George W. Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon during a press conference in the White House in 2004.
Sharon speaks during a memorial ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's assassination at the Mount Hertzl Military cemetery in Jerusalem in 2005.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon gives a televised address to the nation from Jerusalem Aug. 15, 2005, ahead of the evacuation of settlers from Gaza, saying that the withdrawal was vital despite the pain it caused.