CAIRO, Egypt (CNN) -- The only person to serve as vice president under former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak will be laid to rest today.
For many Egyptians, the lasting memory of Omar Suleiman, Hosni Mubarak's intelligence chief, is announcing the resignation of the embattled president. The 76-year-old died Thursday after health complications from cancer, at a U.S. hospital.
A shadowy figure, Suleiman controlled Egypt's intelligence service with an iron fist from 1993 until Mubarak's ouster. In Egypt, he was known for his crackdown on Islamists. He also played a key diplomatic role, representing Egypt during negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as well as being a close ally of the United States. After September 11th, this alliance would make him an important part of the United States' counter-terrorism efforts.
Human rights groups alleged he was closely linked to the Washington program known as extra-ordinary rendition, the interrogation of terrorist suspects in third countries. But it was during Egypt's revolution that he briefly stepped into the limelight, becoming vice-president during Mubarak's final days. Suleiman would be the first and only vice-president under Mubarak. During the revolution he famously said Egypt is "not ready" for a democracy.
Egyptians disagreed. Suleiman would become a rallying figure for pro-Mubarak loyalists after the revolution.
Later he made a bid for the presidency, only to be disqualified for failing to gather enough supporters' signatures. His legacy will be controversial: for some Egyptians, he will be remembered as a patriotic civil servant, for most the strongman of a tyrant.