Former dictator Suharto's health worsens
( AP ) - Former Indonesian dictator Suharto's health worsened overnight and he needs a second pacemaker and may require kidney dialysis, a member of the presidential medical team said Saturday.
The 86-year-old, who brutally ruled Indonesia for more than three decades until being toppled by a pro-democracy uprising in 1998, has been in and out of the hospital in recent years for strokes and intestinal bleeding. He is said to have suffered permanent brain damage and some speech loss from the ailments.
Suharto was admitted Friday to the capital's Pertamina Hospital after falling ill at home several days ago, but doctors had said his condition was not life-threatening.
"We can say his condition has worsened, is more serious than before," Dr. Joko Raharjo told reporters Saturday morning. "Another heart pacemaker needs to be fitted."
Suharto's kidney functions also had deteriorated, he said, meaning he may need kidney dialysis.
Suharto lives a secluded life in a mansion on a leafy lane in Jakarta and is rarely seen in public. During recent Islamic holidays, he received a stream of high-profile guests and gave a rare media interview in November after winning a defamation lawsuit against Time magazine.
Two years after his ouster, Suharto was indicted for allegedly embezzling $600 million, but legal proceedings were suspended due to his poor health.