Former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa died of multiple organ failure after sepsis had spread to her heart and other organs, said the doctors who treated her at Chennai’s Apollo Hospital. She had died on December 6, 2016. “Sepsis is when the body has an inflammatory reaction to illness. It can set in a matter of hours or days. The bacteria in her blood subsequently attached to her heart,” said Dr Richard Beale on Monday, adding that diabetes had made Jayalalithaa’s treatment difficult.

“There was no conspiracy,” he said, amid rumours and speculation around the former All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader’s prolonged illness and her death.

Dr Richard Beale, who had been brought in to treat Jayalalithaa from the United Kingdom last year, addressed the media along with Dr Babu and Dr Balaji from Apollo Hospital. They said the press conference was meant to put to rest the speculation over what led to Jayalalithaa’s death. “It was a sudden cardiac arrest,” Dr Babu said. “CPR was started immediately. It went around for 20 minutes. She was administered extracorporeal membrane oxygenation [ECMO] after her heart did not respond.”

“When the sepsis progressed, Jayalalithaa was put on ventilator support. After the infection spread to her organs, it led to shortness of breath,” Dr Beale said. The former AIADMK leader had been responding well to treatment initially, she would lip read and interact with people through gestures, he added. “She was speaking till the time she had cardiac arrest,” Dr Babu said.

“There’s no question here about poisoning. Anyone who goes through medical history properly will realise how silly this question is,” Dr Beale added. “It is clear what the disease progression was. There was nothing mysterious.”

The doctors dismissed reporters’ questions on why no photographs or other details were released by the hospital. “It is not normal practice to take photos and publish private details. It is an intrusion of privacy,” Dr Beale said. “I cannot understand why anybody here would think that is a reasonable thing to do.”

At the press meet, the doctors were repeatedly questioned about the timing of the conference, which was organised by the Tamil Nadu government. Dr Balaji said it was organised on Monday as Dr Beale was in Chennai for other work. Dr Beale clarified that he was not easily available to fly down to India as he was a highly sought-after sepsis specialist.

His press conference comes a day after Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala was announced the new chief minister of the state. O Panneerselvam, who had taken over the post after Jayalalithaa’s death, had resigned on Sunday, February 5, after which Sasikala took over. Her meteoric rise from being the AIADMK leader’s longtime aide to party general seceretary and then chief minister has raised many questions.