Family revealed that he had been in hospital weeks ago, after contracting COVID-19
Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee has passed away at the age of 84, his family said.
Mukherjee died on Monday after multiple organ failure, and had been admitted in hospital a few weeks ago after he contracted the coronavirus. On August 10, Mukherjee suffered a blood clot in his brain after suffering a fall, and had to be rushed in for emergency surgery at New Delhi’s Army Hospital Research and Referral. After the surgery, the hospital revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and that his condition was critical. He was in a comatose state after the surgery.
Later they said that his health started declining on Monday following a lung infection resulting in septic shock. His son, former legislator Abhijeet Mukherjee tweeted about his demise.
Passing of an era
Pranab Mukherjee was the Indian president from 2012 to 2017, a period when the Congress party was still in power.
Before that, he was the minister of finance, defense and foreign affairs and served under three separate prime ministers. Before running for public office in 1969, Mukherjee had been a college teacher in West Bengal. In 1969, he became a protege of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and had stayed faithful to her during the international emergency she proclaimed from 1975 to 1977.
He lost his position as the finance minister after Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984 and later her son Rajiv Gandhi became the prime minister. At that time Mukherjee formed his own party but later reconciled with Rajiv Gandhi and rejoined the Congress in 1989. After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, he served under PV Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh.
He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour in 2019.
(Cover: The Quint)