Former Iranian president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died at the age of 82 on Sunday. The government has declared three days of mourning and his funeral will be held on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Rafsanjani was known for his moderate policies on economic liberalisation, relations with western countries and increasing power of elected bodies.

His body was taken to the Jamaran prayer hall, the residence of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, where many politicians and religious leaders paid their respects. State broadcaster IRIB aired a statement by the country’s Deputy Health Minister Mohammad Aghajani, who said, “Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani was taken to hospital after a heart attack. Efforts by doctors to revive him were not successful.”

Described as a “pillar of the Islamic revolution”, Rafsanjani was a prime figure in the struggle between the country’s moderates and conservatives during his rule from 1989 to 1997. With the presidential polls scheduled for May, his death is a blow to moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s election campaign. The former president had campaigned to help Rouhani win the 2013 elections.

“The soul of the great man of the Revolution, symbol of patience and resistance has gone to heaven,“ Rouhani said on Twitter. While acknowledging their disagreements over governance, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “Attempts by wicked people who tried to take advantage of our differences of opinion never affected his deep personal warmth towards me.”

His death also gains importance in light of future relations with the United States under President-elect Donald Trump. During his election campaign, Trump had criticised Washington’s lifting of sanctions on the otherwise isolated country and described it as the “worst deal ever”.

Standford University Iranian Studies program Director Abbas Milani, said Rafsanjani was the “voice of reason” needed for the present situation. “With the possible instability that is going to come in US policy, you needed a voice of reason and pragmatism that had some heft to it,” he said. The Barack Obama administration sent its condolences to the Rafsanjani family.