Shillong: Former President A P J Abdul Kalam today died in a Shillong hospital following a sudden illness.
Kalam (84) took ill at a function here and was rushed to the hospital, M Kharkrang, SP Khasi Hills, said. The former President collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management here at around 6.30pm and was taken to the hospital.
Chief Secretary P B O Warjiri told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary L C Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam's body from Guwahati to Delhi tomorrow morning.
Doctors from the army hospital and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) rushed to Bethany hospital.
Governor V Shanmughanathan, Speaker Abu Taher Mondal, Home Minister Roshan Warjiri, the Chief Secretary and DGP Rajiv Mehta rushed to the hospital. Former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was on Monday admitted to a private hospital here in Meghalaya in a critical condition.
"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, told IANS after Kalam was brought to the hospital.
Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan and Chief Secretary P B O Warjri visited Bethany hospital where Kalam was admitted.
Kalam, who would have turned 84 in October, was confirmed dead more than two hours after he was wheeled into the ICU of Bethany hospital in a critical condition.
Considered the most popular President, Kalam became the 11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007 but lack of consensus denied a second term in office for a man who came from outside political spectrum. Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan, who rushed to the hospital on hearing the news of his admission, said Kalam died at 7.45 pm. Despite medical team best efforts, he could not be revived.
Chief Secretary P B O Warjiri told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary L C Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Kalam's body from Guwahati to Delhi tomorrow morning. “The former President has been admitted to Bethany hospital in a critical condition,” M Kharkrang, SP Khasi Hills said earlier.
Doctors from the army hospital and North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) rushed to Bethany hospital but their efforts proved to be of no avail.
A seven-day national mourning will be declared by the Centre, Union Home Secretary L C Goyal said. Both the Houses of Parliament are likely to make obituary references and adjourn as a mark of respect to his memory.
A Bharat Ratna, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam rose from humble origins to become the President in the most unexpected manner during the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee. His victory was a foregone conclusion after an all party consensus minus the left parties which fielded Captain Lakshmi Seghal of the INA fame.
Born in 1931 in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu in a poor family, he studied aeronautics engineering from Madras Institute of Technology-Madras.
Kalam was considered the brain of missile programme in India and as Chief Scientific Adviser to Vajpayee he was also instrumental in the Pokhran nuclear tests in 1998.
He had the distinction of becoming the first President to fly a Sukhoi fighter jet, go in a submarine and visit high-altitude Siachen besides LoC. He was also the first President to address the Indian Science Congress in 90 years.
As President, Kalam utilised any opportunity that came to him to address students, especially school children, to dream big so that they became achievers in life.
A bachelor, the former President was a veena player and was deeply interested in Carnatic music. He was vegetarian all his life.