But he also acknowledged the role assumed by the Islamists, describing them as "a very important segment" of society.
Suleiman's presidential hopes were cut short by an apparent administrative failure by his campaign team, which failed to secure enough voter endorsements for him to qualify for the election. Conspiracy theorists argued he had never intended to run but had entered the race so the army-backed authorities could disqualify Islamists without causing a major backlash.
Suleiman was born on July 2, 1936 in Qena, in southern Egypt. He enrolled in Egypt's premier military academy in 1954 and received further military training in the then Soviet Union. He also studied political science at Cairo University and Ain Shams University.
His full role in the opaque Mubarak administration is likely to remain a mystery. His role extended well beyond the remit of an intelligence chief, including tasks more akin to those of a foreign minister, managing relations with the United States and Israel.
Some called Suleiman "The Conductor" for the way he appeared at times to manage attempts to reconcile the Palestinians and Israelis like an orchestra.
His fiercest critics branded him an agent for Israel and the United States and said he was at the heart of Egypt's participation in the Israeli-led blockade of the Gaza Strip.
But they conceded that Suleiman had spared Gaza from some deadly Israeli offensives by appealing to Israeli leaders and pressuring Hamas - the Islamist movement ruling Gaza - and other factions to restore calm.
Suleiman left the country after his failed presidency bid, initially travelling to Abu Dhabi with relatives.
He will take many of the secrets of the Mubarak era to his grave, his death depriving Egyptians of the opportunity to put him on trial.
"There is sorrow for all those who hoped for his punishment on earth, to see him a convicted criminal in the prisons where he put them for so long," said Facebook user Ibrahim el-Houdaiby.
(Additional reporting by Marwa Awad and Shaimaa Fayed; Writing by Tom Pfeiffer and Tom Perry; Editing by Myra MacDonald)