On the top floor of a Jerusalem hospital lays a very old man. He is slowly dying, but he won't be left in peace. A small circle of courtiers around him continue to issue in his name edicts and rulings, ensure that his signature still appears on letters and when his medical situation improves temporarily, they will remove him from hospital and seat him in his chair at the synagogue, where everyone can see him. The hospital staff grumbles that all this just prolongs the old man's agony, but there is nothing they can do as the retinue controls all the old man's moves.
Only a tiny handful of relatives and trustees are allowed to talk with him, and they jealously guard his real mental situation while everyone is told that he is fully lucid and talking with his family and doctors, praying and studying as normal.
This is how the great rabbis die nowadays. These were the circumstances of the last years of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, as the Chabadniks fought over him, manhandling him to the window of his study so he could wave to the crowds on Eastern Parkway, steadily deifying him as he descended into his last coma. His body died in 1994, at the age of 92, but many of his followers still believe he is with us.