India’s former president and top scientist APJ Kalam, who played a lead role in the country’s nuclear weapons tests, died on Monday, a hospital official said. He was 83.
Kalam collapsed during a lecture at a management institute in the northeastern Indian city of Shillong, and was declared dead on arrival by doctors at Bethany hospital.
“We tried to revive him but couldn’t,” John Sailo, the hospital medical superintendent told AFP, without giving further details about the cause of his death.
India declared seven days of national mourning for Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, who served as India’s 11th president between 2002 and 2007, as is standard after the death of a former leader.
His body will be flown to New Delhi on Tuesday, local media reported.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Kalam, who was elected to the top post during the previous Bharatiya Janata Party rule, saying he had “always marvelled at his intellect, learnt so much from him”.
An acclaimed scientist and author, Kalam was known as the “people’s president” during his time in office and continued to reach out to young people with his scientific lectures after leaving office.