Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Shillong, July 27:
Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam passed away at a hospital here this evening.
Kalam (83) collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Shillong at about 6.30 pm this evening and was immediately rushed to the hospital but died shortly after reaching the hospital.
“The former president was brought almost dead to our hospital. He is in a critical condition. We are trying to revive the patient,” John Sailo Ryntathiang, director of Bethany Hospital, had told IANS shortly before his death.
“He is in the Intensive Care Unit. We are examining him. We suspect that it could be cardiac arrest,” Sailo had said.
Soon after his death, Kalam’s body was taken to the military hospital for embalming.
The Union government has declared a seven-day State mourning as a mark of respect to the former President of India.
Meanwhile, the Union Home Ministry was making necessary arrangements for bringing Kalam’s body to New Delhi. The body would be flown to Guwahati in a helicopter from where it would be flown to the national capital on Tuesday morning.
Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan and Chief Secretary PBO Warjri visited Bethany hospital where Kalam breathed his last.
Chief Secretary PBO Warjiri told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary LC Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam’s body from Guwahati to Delhi on Tuesday morning.
Earlier during the day, Kalam had tweeted about his function at IIM Shillong.
The last rites would be performed at his birthplace Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu where he was born on October 15, 1931, to a boatman.
Kalam was the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007 and easily the most popular in recent memory. He was known as India’s missile man for guiding and mentoring the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He played a pivotal role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998, the first since the test by India in 1974.
For his achievements, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan and Bharat Ratna, and then he became the 11th President of India in 2002.