Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during a press conference in Islamabad on November 11, 2007. (Credit: John Moore/Getty Images)
Islamabad (CNN) --
Islamabad (CNN) --
Former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf has died in Dubai after a prolonged illness at Dubai American Hospital, according to a Pakistani military statement.
He was 79 years old.
In a statement sent to CNN, senior military officials expressed their "sincere condolences" on the "sad passing of General Pervez Musharraf."
"May Allah bless the soul of the deceased and give strength to the grieving family," the statement read.
Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is hospitalized ahead of his trial
Tributes and messages of condolence poured in from Pakistani politicians.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif expressed his "condolences and solidarity with the family" of the former leader in a statement on Sunday.
Pakistani Senate President Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani also expressed his "deep sadness and pain", while the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, led by former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was ousted in a vote of no confidence last year He said: "Our prayers and condolences go out to his family and we share his pain."
The former leader, who had lived in self-imposed exile in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, since 2016, seized power from former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif's older brother, in a military coup in 1999 and proclaimed himself president in 2001 while continuing to be army chief.
He continued to lead Pakistan as president until 2008.
Former Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf addresses the nation on state television after seizing power in a military coup in 1999. (Credit: Reuters)
Musharraf became a key US ally after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and sought to become an indispensable figure in the fight against Islamic extremism.
But his time in power was marred by controversy and he was accused of widespread human rights abuses and oppression.
His tenure was marked by two failed assassination attempts in 2003. In November 2007, he declared a state of emergency, suspended Pakistan's constitution, replaced the chief judge and blocked independent television media.
Musharraf said he did it to stabilize the country and fight rising Islamic extremism.
The action drew strong criticism from the United States and pro-democracy advocates.
Pakistanis openly called for his removal.
Under pressure from the West, Musharraf later lifted the state of emergency and called elections, held in February 2008, in which his party fared poorly.
Pervez Musharraf, former Pakistani president, sentenced to death for high treason
He resigned in August 2008 after the ruling coalition began moving to impeach him.
Musharraf later went into exile but returned to Pakistan in 2013 with the aim of running in the country's national elections.
Instead, his plans fell apart when he became entangled in a web of court cases related to his time in power.
In 2019, he was sentenced to death in absentia for high treason.
The ruling was later overturned.
Musharraf had lived in Dubai since March 2016, when Pakistan's Supreme Court lifted the travel ban, allowing him to leave the country for medical treatment there.
He was married to Sehba Musharraf and had a son and a daughter.