President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday condoled the death of noted social activist Murlidhar Devidas "Baba" Amte, describing him as a "saint" and a "true Gandhian" who committed his life to the welfare of the destitute.
"Baba Amte is a great example of a person who committed his life for the welfare of the destitute and needy," the President, who is on a visit to Jalgaon, said in her condolence message.
Baba Amte, 94, died at his 'Anandvan' ashram in Maharashtra's Chandrapur district in the wee hours on Saturday.
The Prime Minister in his condolence message described Amte as a "legend", and said the Gandhi Peace Prize winner's work in the upliftment of leprosy patients puts him in a "unique class of great national figures".
"It is with a deep sense of grief and loss that I heard the demise of Baba Amte. A true Gandhian who worked hard to uphold Gandhian values in their true spirit, Baba Amte became a legend in his own lifetime," the prime minister said.
He said Amte's efforts to unite people on national and Gandhian values and to eliminate all forms of discrimination and bias makes him a "saint of our times".
"In this hour of sorrow, my heart reaches out to all those associated with Baba Amte and his millions of admirers across the nation. I pay homage to a truly great son of India," he said.