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India grieves Pranab's passing away: Modi

Former President Pranab Mukherjee was admitted to the Army Hospital (R&R) in Delhi on August 10 where he underwent a brain operation to remove a clot. He continued to remain critical and on ventilatory support and was in deep coma. During pre-surgery investigations he was also found to have coronavirus.

NEW DELHI, Aug 31: Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee, 84, who underwent a brain surgery to remove a clot at the Army's R&R Hospital here on August 10, and had been on ventilatory support and in coma, passed away on Monday, according to his son Abhijit.

“With a Heavy Heart , this is to inform you that my father Shri #PranabMukherjee has just passed away in spite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital & prayers ,duas & prarthanas from people throughout India !,” Abhijit tweeted.

During pre-surgical investigations, incidentally, he was also found to be coronavirus-positive.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: "India grieves the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee. 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.

"During his political career that spanned decades, Shri Pranab Mukherjee made long-lasting contributions in key economic and strategic ministries. He was an outstanding Parliamentarian, always well-prepared, extremely articulate as well as witty.

"As India’s President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee 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.

"I was new to Delhi in 2014. From Day 1, I was blessed to have the guidance, support and blessings of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I will always cherish my interactions with him. Condolences to his family, friends, admirers and supporters across India. Om Shanti."

Leaders from all walks of life from across the country also mourned the political stalwart.

On August 11 morning the Army's R&R Hospital had said in a statement that the former President and senior Congress leader was admitted to the hospital in a critical condition on Aug 10 while Pranab himself had tweeted just before going under the knife that incidentally it was discovered during the pre-surgery investigations in the hospital that he had coronavirus infection.

The medical bulletin had said: "Former President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee was admitted to Army Hospital (R&R) Delhi Cantt at 1207 hours on 10 August 2020 in a critical condition. Workup at the hospital revealed a large brain clot for which he underwent emergency life saving surgery. Post surgery he continues to remain critical on ventilatory support. He was also found to be COVID-19 positive.”

His tweet before proceeding for the operation had urged all those who had come in contact with him in the last week to isolate themselves as a precaution and get tested for covid.

The veteran Congress leader tweeted:"On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for COVID19 today.

"I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19," Pranab said.

Pranab Mukherjee was the President of India from 2012 to 2017. He was a voracious reader and author of several books on India and awardee of many honours like Bharat Ratna and Padma Vibhushan.

Country's top leaders had wished him speedy recovery. Several politicians like Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa have also contracted corona.

Over 62,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in India during the last 24 hours, the tally going up to 22,15,075, Health Ministry said. India reported 1,007 new deaths in the last 24 hours taking the death toll to 44,386, on Monday.

Pranab Mukherjee was a veteran Congress leader who became the 13th President of India, from 2012 to 2017. In a political career spanning five decades, Pranab served as Union Minister several times and handled major portfolios. Across party affiliations, he has been a father-figure for all and was awarded Bharat Ratna, country's top-most honour, last year.

Pranab Mukherjee was born in Mirati village in Birbhum district of Bengal on December 11, 1935. His father was a Congress leader and freedom-fighter. He had two Master's degrees in History and Political Science and a Law degree from the University of Calcutta and worked as a teacher for some time. His political career started with the election to the Rajya Sabha in 1969 and became a Minister in the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Cabinet in 1973. He served several times as Rajya Sabha member and also as Minister holding a variety of portfolios. He had briefly left the Congress in mid-1980s, to return later to continue his career in the Congress and the Government.

He took office as the 13th President of India on July 25, 2012 and did not contest a second time in 2017.

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