Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed died on Thursday morning after he was flown to AIIMS on December 24 and later shifted to the ICU in a critical state.
Sayeed’s political advisor Waheed ur-Rahman confirmed that the leader breathed his last at around 8am.
Sayeed’s body was brought to the Palam Airport in New Delhi where Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid his respects, following which the body was flown to Srinagar. He will be buried at his ancestral graveyard at Bijbehara later in the day.
Jammu and Kashmir government has announced a holiday today and a seven-day mourning period as a mark of respect to Sayeed.
The 79-year-old leader who founded the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had been admitted to the premier hospital in Delhi with complaints of severe fever and neck pain.
Sayeed was suffering from a non-specific systemic infection, with the exact cause of the infection not being known. He had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a progressive lung disease. Sayeed was being administered prophylactic antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs.
His treatment was being closely monitored by a team of experts comprising doctors from several departments at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He was also a patient of acute diabetes and had been on a routine check-up every month at the institute.
Even before Sayeed fell ill, reports said he intended to hand down power to his daughter Mehbooba Mufti after completing one year in office on March 1, 2016. Mehbooba currently heads the PDP whose alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been ruling the state since March 1 this year.
Condoling Sayeed’s death, former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said “My heart felt sympathies to Mrs Syed, Mehbooba & the entire family in this most difficult of times. My & my family’s prayers are with them.”
Just heard the terrible terrible news of Mufti Sahib's passing away. I'm shocked & deeply saddened. May he rest in peace.— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) January 7, 2016
“Muftiji ws a visionary leader who dedicated his entire life to a united strong J&K n India.His demise at a crucial juncture saddening,” tweeted BJP leader Ram Madhav.
Mufti Sahab's demise leaves a huge void in the nation & in J&K, where his exemplary leadership had a major impact on people's lives. RIP.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 7, 2016
According to the alliance terms decided between the PDP and BJP, Sayeed was to remain the chief minister for the full six-year term of the state assembly.
The chief minister recently hinted Mehbooba could take over the reins of the state . The transition will make Mehbooba, 56, the first woman chief minister of the state. “My daughter is mature enough to handle responsibilities and has access to leadership and cadre on both sides,” Sayeed had said.