Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee has died at the age of 84.His son broke the news, Monday, on twitter.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a tribute, saying the country grieved the former president’s passing. “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,” Modi wrote.
India’s government announced seven days of mourning in response to the news of Mukherjee’s death. Flags will be flown at half mast, and there will be no official entertainment.
Pranab Mukherjee had previously announced on Twitter that he was to undergo a surgical procedure in the second week of August. Prior to the surgery, the former president had tested positive for Covid-19 on Aug. 10, and had been in hospital since.However,no announcement from the hospital or his family about the cause of death has been made.
Mukherjee was born on December 11, 1935, in the state of West Bengal. He graduated from the University of Calcutta (now known as Kolkata) and began a career in teaching before going into politics.
Mukherjee entered parliament in 1969, following his father into the Congress party led by Indira Gandhi,India’s first female Prime Minister.
He served as foreign, defense, commerce, and finance minister under various administrations for almost five decades, and as a member of the Indian Parliament seven times.
Under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, he served as a senior cabinet minister and was eventually elected as as the thirteenth president of India in 2012.
A corruption scandal two years into his presidency led to a defeat in general elections for Congress, which has ruled India for most of its independent history, and Mukherjee had to swear in Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi as prime minister.
Mukherjee served the remainder of his term as president under Modi, before stepping down in 2017.
Mukherjee was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor, in 2019, after being given its second-highest civilian honor, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2008.
He is survived by two sons and a daughter.