Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is being kept alive by life support after he was rushed from a prison hospital to a military one in a rapidly deteriorating condition, officials said.
The ousted leader's health crisis added an element of uncertainty to who will succeed him.
The state news agency Mena said Mubarak (84) was "clinically dead" when he arrived at the hospital and that doctors used a defibrillator on him several times. It initially said the efforts were not successful.
But the official said Mubarak was put on life support. He had no further details on his condition.
The developments add to what is threatening to become a new chapter of unrest and political power struggles in Egypt, 16 months after Mubarak was ousted by a popular uprising demanding democracy.
The campaign of Mubarak's former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, said yesterday he had won Egypt's presidential election, countering the Muslim Brotherhood's claim of victory for its candidate, Mohammed Morsi.
The election commission is to announce the official final results tomorrow.
Mubarak has been serving a life sentence at Cairo's Torah Prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising against his rule last year.