New Delhi: Former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam passed away in Shillong on Monday. He was 83. The Bharat Ratna awardee was a scientist and visionary who inspired the country to look towards the future and especially encouraged the youth to invest their lives in the growth of the country.
Dr Kalam suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed during a lecture at the IIM. He was rushed to Bethany hospital in Nongrim hills after he collapsed at around 6.30 pm. Despite efforts to revive him, he was declared brought dead.
His body is being taken by an Air Force helicopter to Guwahati at 5.30 am and from there to Delhi at 6.30 AM by a special aircraft, defence PRO Amit Mahajan had told the press earlier.
His last rites are to take place in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu, his birth place. The ceremony is likely to be attended by PM Narendra Modi.
According to reports, Tuesday has been declared a holiday in honour of his passing. A seven-day national mourning was declared by the Centre as a mark of respect. Both the Houses of Parliament are likely to make obituary references and adjourn. Leaders cutting across parties have condoled his death.
He is considered as one of India's top space scientists and was also pioneered India's civilian space program and military missile development efforts. Also, he was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, specifically the PSLV configuration.
Dr Kalam was the President of India from 2002 to 2007 and is held in high regard for his connect with the people, especially students of the country.