Hosni Mubarak is slipping in and out of consciousness eight days after the ousted Egyptian leader was sent to prison to begin serving a life sentence.
With rumours of the former president's death spreading rapidly, authorities granted his wife, former first lady Suzanne Mubarak, and the couple's two daughters-in-law special permission to visit him in Cairo's Torah prison early last morning.
Mubarak's health is reported to have collapsed since his June 2 conviction for failing to stop the killing of protesters during the uprising that overthrew him in 2011.
His life sentence saw him transferred immediately to a prison hospital, instead of the military hospital and other facilities where he had been held since his April 2011 arrest.
Authorities have turned down several requests by Mubarak's family to transfer the ousted president back to a military facility.