Hosni Mubarak was on life support in hospital on Wednesday, Egyptian military officials said, denying a report that the ousted president was clinically dead.
Earlier the state news agency, amid high tension over the election of a new president, quoted medical sources as saying the former head of state was "clinically dead". That description was also used to Reuters by a hospital source.
But several sources in the military and security services, which retain control following the revolt, said Mubarak, 84, was being kept alive and said they would not use the expression "clinically dead" to describe his condition.
General Said Abbas, a member of the ruling military council, told Reuters that Mubarak had suffered a stroke but added: "Any talk of him being clinically dead is nonsense."
Another military source said: "He is completely unconscious. He is using artificial respiration."
Another member of the military council, General Mamdouh Shaheen, told CNN: "He is not clinically dead as reported, but his health is deteriorating and he is in critical condition."
The confusion over the state of health of the former leader came as his long-time opponents in the Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory over a candidate drawn from the military elite in a presidential election held at the weekend.
Results have not been published, and supporters of Ahmed Shafik, Mubarak's former prime minister who was running against the Islamist Mohamed Morsy, said it was he who had won.
The state news agency MENA had earlier cited medical sources to say that Mubarak was clinically dead after his heart stopped beating and could not be revived. Later, however, the agency, citing medical sources, said a medical team was still trying to treat a blood clot in his brain.
Security sources said Mubarak was moved late on Tuesday from the Tora prison, where he had been held since being sentenced on June 2 to life imprisonment, to the Maadi military hospital, also in Cairo.
The private television station al-Hayat broadcast video which it said was of Mubarak's move. The images showed a patient on a stretcher being moved from an ambulance into a hospital in Maadi, a suburb of Cairo. Al-Arabiya television reported that Mubarak's wife Suzanne had arrived at the hospital.