SHILLONG: Former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam died on Monday after collapsing while delivering a lecture in Shillong, northeastern India.
Kalam, 83, collapsed while addressing the students of the Indian Institute of Management in the Meghalaya in Shillong and was rushed to the nearby Bethany hospital where doctors gave him emergency treatment while trying to revive him.
"He was brought into the hospital without a pulse or blood pressure, there was no sign of life," said John Sailo Ryntathiang, director of Bethany Hospital.
B. Warjri, chief secretary of Meghalaya state, confirmed that Kalam died on Monday evening at a hospital. He was 83.
Kalam served as president of India for five years from 2002, and enjoyed support of both the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress at the time. He was known as the father of the country's military missile programme.
Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam won his spurs as the countrys missile man. He played a pivotal role in India's Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.
After his term, he returned to a life of education, writing, and public service. He received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor.
The Centre has declared a national mourning of seven days.
"Dr. Kalam was a man of impeccable character, indomitable spirit, profound knowledge and firm conviction. His death is an irreparable loss to this nation. He has left a big void hard to fill," said home minister Rajnath Singh.
Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 in a poor Tamil Muslim family in Rameswaram. But he overcame all odds to study physics and aerospace engineering.
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