Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee breathed his last on Monday evening at 84. In a tweet, his son, Indian National Congress leader Abhijit Mukherjee said, "With a heavy heart, this is to inform you that my father Pranab Mukherjee has just passed away in spite of the best efforts of doctors of RR Hospital and prayers, duas and prarthanas from people throughout India!"
Mukherjee served as the 13th President of India from 2012 until 2017. He was being treated at the Army Research & Referral Hospital in the national capital.
A Home Ministry statement said that seven-day State mourning would be observed in his memory.
"As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, seven days State Mourning will be observed throughout India from August 31, 2020 to September 6, 2020, both days inclusive. During the period of State Mourning the National Flag will fly at half-mast on all buildings throughout India, where it is flown regularly, and there will be no official entertainment," the statement said.
"The date, time and venue of the State Funeral will be intimated later," the statement added.
Pranabda: A man for all seasonsPranab Mukherjee was the quintessential elder who could scold without offending, and among the few who encouraged private enterprise at a time when India was still fashionably socialist
In earlier stints, Mukherjee had handled the Finance, Defence, External Affairs and Commerce portfolios as a Cabinet Minister. In August 2019, Mukherjee was conferred with the Bharat Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour.
Commiserations for him poured from across party lines after his demise was announced.
Condoling Mukherjee's passing away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation. A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society. He was an outstanding Parliamentarian, always well-prepared, extremely articulate as well as witty."
"As India's President, he made Rashtrapati Bhavan even more accessible to common citizens. He made the President's house a centre of learning, innovation, culture, science, and literature. His wise counsel on key policy matters will never be forgotten by me," Modi said.
Expressing profound grief, Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu said, "He was a statesman and an illustrious son of India, who rose from humble beginnings to occupy the country's highest constitutional position through hard work, discipline and dedication."
"He was an encyclopedia on parliamentary processes, contemporary political and other matters and was known for his scholarly knowledge. He was an excellent parliamentarian and known for his oratorical skills," Naidu said.
Giving his condolences on Mukherjee's demise, Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla said, "In his more than five-decade-long public life, he served the nation with exemplary dedication. His experience in parliamentary and administrative matters was unmatched, a quality which manifested itself in his extraordinary work ethic."
Mukherjee had undergone brain surgery at the Army Research and Referral hospital in New Delhi in August. He had announced that he was diagnosed COVID-19 positive on August 10. Hospital authorities said his condition had deteriorated on Monday and he was in a state of septic shock due to lung infection.