Kathmandu: Nepal's five-time prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, a trusted friend of India and architect of the landmark peace deal with Maoists, died here on Saturday after multiple organ failure at the age of 87.
The veteran politician died at 12.10 pm local time at his daughter and Deputy Premier Sujata Koirala's residence, Nepali Congress vice president Gopal Man Shrestha said.
Koirala, the president of the Nepali Congress which is a key constituent of the ruling CPN-UML-led coalition, was considered close to the Indian leadership across the political spectrum.
He had not been keeping well for several months and was discharged from Marty Ganga Lal Heart Centre here on Wednesday after showing signs of improvement. He had been staying at his daughter Sujata's residence since then.
Earlier, Chiranjivi Nepal, an advisor to Sujata who is also foreign minister, said the veteran politician had slipped into coma following a bout of diarrhoea.
Koirala had a low haemoglobin level and was suffering from bronchitis and lung problems. He died of multiple organ failure, party sources said.
Koirala had played a pivotal role in the peace process and bringing the Maoists to mainstream politics, ending a decade-long armed conflict that claimed 16,000 lives.
He was also instrumental in turning Nepal from a Hindu kingdom into a Republic through the abolition of 240-year-old monarchy two years ago.
His last rites will be performed tomorrow, Shrestha said.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described Koirala as "one of Nepal's tallest leaders and an elder statesman of South Asia".
"The passing away of Shri Koirala marks the end of an era in Nepalese politics. Shri Koirala had an enlightened vision of India-Nepal relations and worked sincerely to bring the people of the two countries closer together," Dr Singh said in his condolence message.
(With Agencies’ inputs)
First Published: Sunday, March 21, 2010, 00:38