Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former president of India, is dead at the age of 84. He passed away in Shillong, India on July 27 due to a sudden cardiac arrest.

He collapsed during an interaction with the students of Indian Institute of Management,  at around 6.30 PM India Standard Time (IST).

He was immediately rushed to a private hospital and given expert treatment including ventilator support. Doctors from the Indian Army were also rushed but could not do anything to recover him.

The television channels in India initially reported his condition as critical and the official announcement of his death came at around 9 PM.

He tweeted just before departing from New Delhi that he would be going to  Shillong to deliver the speech.

 Kalam served as 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. He was elected without any opposition with support of then ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the then opposition Indian National Congress.

He was born in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India and served as a scientist for a period of four decades with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). He was instrumental in setting up several popular institutions, including the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC) near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.

Kalam has penned his thoughts in his autobiography, Wings of Fire and was also called the Missile Man of India. He played a pivotal role in the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology including a major role in Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.

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He was honored with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest award in addition to Padma Vibhushan. He also received over 30 honorary doctorates from several universities worldwide. His speeches inspired many young talents and he also had a dream of viewing India as a developed nation in 2020.

Kalam is the author of several books, including Agnipankh, Tejaswi Man, Meri Jeevan Yatra, Forge your Future, My Journey: Transforming Dreams into Actions, Governance for growth in India and Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India.

The government of India has declared seven days state mourning as a mark of respect to the president. President Pranab Mukherji and prime minister Narendra Modi  and other political leaders termed his death  a big loss for the nation. However, as per his wish, the government has not declared a holiday.

His body will be placed at his residence from 3 PM IST for the public to pay homage. The final rites will be performed on July 29 in his home town Rameswaram near Tamil Nadu, South India.