Field Marshal Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, whose military victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war led to the creation of Bangladesh, died in Military Hospital in Wellington, Tamil Nadu late on Thursday night. He was 94.
The Padma Vibhushan and Military Cross awardee, who was admitted in the hospital for some time for "progressive lung disease", had slipped into a coma earlier in the day and the end came just after midnight at 00:30 am, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Manekshaw had developed "acute bronchopneumonia with associated complications" and was placed under intensive care four days ago after his condition became serious.
In a condolence message to the bereaved family, Defence Minister A K Antony said "his demise has left behind a void that will be really hard to fill... The nation has lost a great soldier, a true patriot and a nobel son".
He said: "I am deeeply grieved to learn of his demise. Manekshaw's nearly four-decade-long career with the army saw him hold several important positions and he was also one of the most decorated officers".
He also lauded the general's "rare knack of motivating the jawans" and being "a man of ideas and action by leading from the front in the 1971 war".
Manekshaw was one of the 40 cadets of the first batch that passed out from the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun and earned the sobriquet "Sam Bahadur" from soldiers of the 8th Gorkha Rifles of which he was Colonel of the Regiment.