Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Oscar Fernandes died on Monday morning, his party tweeted. He was 80.
The former Union minister died at the Yenepoya Hospital in Mangaluru city of Karnataka, according to Asianet Suvarna. He was undergoing treatment in an intensive care unit ward of the hospital.
In July, he had undergone a surgery in Bengaluru to remove a clot in his brain. He was admitted to a hospital in the city after he suffered a head injury due to a fall, according to The Indian Express.
In a tweet, the Congress called Fernandes a “stalwart” of the party. “His vision for an inclusive India had a huge influence on the politics of our times,” the party said. “The Congress family will deeply miss his mentorship & guidance.”
Born on March 27, 1941 in Udupi district of Karnataka, Fernandes was considered among the close aides of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He was elected from the Udupi Lok Sabha constituency on five occasions.
Fernandes had held the transport ministry and labour ministry portfolios in the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government. He had been a Rajya Sabha member since 2010.
On Monday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that Fernandes’ death was a huge loss for each and every party worker as well as the whole country.
“A Congressman to the core, a veteran parliamentarian, a sensitive minister who championed the cause of labour and [the] underprivileged, a dedicated organisation builder at all levels and an individual firmly anchored in the grassroots – Shri Oscar Fernandes was all of this and much more,” Gandhi said in a statement.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that Fernandes’ death was a personal loss for him. “He was a guide and mentor to many of us in the Congress Party,” Gandhi tweeted. “He will be missed and fondly remembered for his contributions.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief over the Congress leader’s demise.
“In this sad hour, my thoughts and prayers are with his family and well-wishers,” the prime minister’s office said in a tweet.
President Ram Nath Kovind and Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condoled the Fernandes’ death.
“He was a leader rooted to the ground and committed to the welfare of people,” Kovind said in a tweet. “He will be deeply missed by all. Condolences to his family, friends and followers.”
Several Congress leaders also offered their condolences after the veteran leader’s death.