Former defence minister George Fernandes passed away on Tuesday following a prolonged illness, his family sources said.
Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, he contracted swine flu, they said. Fernandes was India’s defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
He had a cold and cough and was taken to the Max Hospital in Saket by his wife, Liela Fernandes, earlier in the day, when doctors said that the veteran leader was already dead.
His son, who lives in New York, is expected back in a day or two, after which the funeral will take place, the sources said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled his death through a series of messages on his official Twitter account. “George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership. Frank and fearless, forthright and farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country. He was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and marginalised. Saddened by his passing away”, he captioned.