New Delhi, 31 August 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee died in a hospital in New Delhi on Monday, his family said. He was 84.
Mukherjee had been in a coma after brain surgery for a blood clot at the Army Research and Referral Hospital earlier this month.
When he went to the hospital for the procedure, it was determined
that he was positive for Covid-19.
The hospital said Mukherjee had gone into septic shock after coming down with a lung infection and his condition had declined Sunday.
Mukherjee‘s son, Abhijit, announced his father’s death on social media. The Indian government announced seven days of state mourning, from Monday to September 6.
Mukherjee, a long-serving figure in the opposition Indian National Congress party, was India’s president between 2012 and 2017.
He also served in key positions in the Indian government including as finance and foreign minister in a career spanning five decades.
Indian leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to the veteran politician.
Born on December 11, 1935 in West Bengal’s Birbhum district, Mukherjee studied political science, history and law at Calcutta University. He worked as a teacher, journalist and lawyer before becoming a politician.
Mukherjee was a minister in former premier Indira Gandhi’s cabinet as far back as 1973. He saw India’s transition from socialism to a market economy while handling key portfolios over the years.
Mukherjee was finance minister in former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s United Progressive Alliance government when he resigned in 2012 to become India’s 13th president.
In India’s parliamentary system, the prime minister heads the government while the post of the president, as head of state, is ceremonial and non-partisan except in emergencies.
Mukherjee was among India’s most well-respected politicians, known for his capability to win friends and influence leaders from across the political spectrum.