CAIRO – 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, a security official said Sunday.

With rumors 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 Sunday.

“The former president’s health is in decline, but now it’s stable in its deteriorated state,” the official said.

Since his wife’s visit, Mubarak has suffered from an irregular heartbeat and required assistance in breathing. The official said the former president now lives only on liquids and yogurt.

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, the official said.

On Saturday, Mubarak’s wife was denied access to the intensive care unit where he was placed, as authorities limit family visitations to one a month.

According to security officials quoted by al-Masry al-Youm daily, she lashed out at wardens for not giving her husband permission to seek treatment outside the prison. “You will be responsible for his death,” she allegedly said.

Mubarak’s two sons, Alaa and Gamal, are also being held. They were acquitted June 2 of corruption charges, but still face separate charges of insider trading.

On Saturday, Egypt’s state run news agency MENA quoted officials as saying that Mubarak is at risk of stroke, quoting a medical team’s report.

Other media reports said that his attorney Farid al-Deeb told him that he will soon be transferred back to a military facility in the Cairo suburb of Maadi.

In his last public appearance on June 2, the bedridden Mubarak sat stoned-faced in the courtroom cage. However, officials said that he broke into tears when he learned that he will be transferred to Torah prison.

However, many in Egypt had hoped that Mubarak or his top officials would be convicted of murder and receive the death penalty.