Former Indian prime minister Vajpayee dies after illness at age 93

NEW DELHI: Three-time Indian prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee died on Thursday, sparking tributes from across the political spectrum as current leader Narendra Modi mourned the “irreplaceable loss” of the respected statesman. The 93-year-old had battled poor health for years but his condition deteriorated sharply in recent days, with doctors placing him on life support.
The sudden turn sparked a flurry of visits from top dignitaries, including Modi, who credited Vajpayee with laying the foundations for the meteoric rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules India today.
“Atalji’s passing away is a personal and irreplaceable loss for me,” Modi said in a tweet on Thursday. “It was Atalji’s exemplary leadership that set the foundations for a strong, prosperous and inclusive India in the 21st century. It was due to the perseverance and struggles of Atalji that the BJP was built brick by brick.”
Vajpayee was being treated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, where he was admitted nine weeks ago.
“Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated over the last 36 hours and he was put on life support systems. Despite the best efforts, we have lost him today,” AIIMS said in a statement.
“We join the nation in deeply mourning this great loss.”
His body was being transferred on Thursday evening to his
Delhi residence.
Vajpayee will be cremated on Friday in the capital with full state honours.