GUWAHATI: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam passed away in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong on Monday.
Apparently, he suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed while giving a lecture at IIM Shillong and was rushed to the nearby Bethany Hospital in the city. The authorities in the hospital confirmed that he was brought dead. “He was brought to the hospital at 7 pm. And on arrival, there was no sign of life. However, he was immediately taken to the ICU and given all life support for 45 minutes… We have declared him dead on arrival,” Bethany Hospital Chief Executive Officer John Sailo said.
The former President was in IIM Shillong in connection with a course with the theme ‘Making a Liveable Planet’. He had arrived in the city earlier in the day. Authorities in IIM Shillong said the former President collapsed while he was taking the lecture. “He arrived at 5.40 pm. At 6.30 pm, he went to the stage to take a class of first year students on ‘Making a Liveable Planet’. He collapsed at 6:40 pm. He was immediately taken to the Bethany Hospital,” IIM Shillong Director Amitabh Dey told Express. “He has been coming to the IIM Shillong for the last three years,” Dey said, adding, “When he arrived today (Monday), there was no sign that he was sick or unwell.”
Meghalaya Governor V Shanmuganathan was among those who rushed to the hospital on hearing about the news. Raj Bhavan sources said the body would be kept at the Army Hospital in the city on Monday night. The State’s Chief Secretary PBO Warjri said the body would to be taken to Guwahati on Tuesday and from there it would be flown to Delhi.
Eminent persons cutting across all walks of life mourned his death. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he has lost a ‘marg darshak’ who took India to new heights in science and technology. “He was a great scientist who contributed immensely in science and technology as well as space. He was a source of inspiration for the whole country, particularly the youth,” Modi said.
7-day mourning in State
The Tamil Nadu government on Monday announced a seven-day mourning period as a mark of respect for Abdul Kalam’s demise, from July 27 to August 2. During this period, the national flag will be flown at half mast.
18 July 1980: Headed launch of India’s first SLV, putting Rohini satellite in orbit
1992-99: Served as DRDO Secy. Pokhran-II nuclear tests got underway
1992-99: Developed Agni and other missiles, earned name ‘Missile Man of India’
1997: Received the Bharat Ratna for his contribution to science and defence
1998: Designed low cost coronary stent, and in 2012, a low-cost electronic tablet
2002-2007: President of India. First scientist and bachelor at Rashtrapati Bhavan