The doctor of late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser denied recent reports that he died of poisoned coffee prepared for him by his successor President Anwar Sadat and attributed his death to hereditary reasons.
Dr. al-Sawy Habib, one of the members of the medical team of Abdel-Nasser, refuted insinuations made on T.V. by veteran Egyptian journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal about the involvement of Anwar Sadat in Nasser’s death.
“What Heikal said about Sadat making a cup of coffee for Nasser three days before his death is true,” Habib told Al Arabiya’s Studio Cairo Friday. “But this is not the reason for his death.”
According to Habib, it is very unlikely to identify a type of poison that takes such a long time to become effective.
“Also nothing abnormal happened to Nasser after drinking the coffee.”
Habib, who treated Nasser from July 1967 till his death in September 1970, said that the late president suffered from a heart stroke a year before his death and that he was already suffering from arteriosclerosis, varicose lungs, and diabetic complications.
“Then he had a heart attack and this immediately stopped more than 40% of the cardiac muscle.”
Regarding the reasons for the different speculations on Nasser’s death and suspicions of a criminal activity were due to the fact that the late president was only 52 years old when he died and that he did not fall ill before his death.
“Egyptians did not know anything about Nasser’s health and they were shocked to know that he died.”
The state of war between Egypt and Israel and the numerous enemies Nasser had also fueled speculations of foul play, Habib added.
The medical history of Nasser’s family makes it possible that part of the reason behind his death could be hereditary, according to Habib.
“Similar deaths took place in Nasser’s family. His brother died a year later at the same age and with the same condition. A while later, the same happened to his other brother.”
Habib pointed out that Nasser’s mother died suddenly at the age of 30 and her bother died, like Nasser, at the age of 52 because of a heart attack and diabetic complications.
The role of Sadat in Nasser’s death stirred controversy in Egypt and Heikal statements drove Sadat’s daughter Rouqaya to file a complaint with the prosecutor general accusing the veteran journalist of tarnishing her father’s reputation.
Heikal’s story has been making headlines since it was broadcast two weeks ago in the show he hosts in one the Arab news channels and renewed interest in the reasons behind Nasser’s death.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)