Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister RK Dhawan died at the BLK Hospital in New Delhi on Monday. He was 81. He is survived by his wife.

The former Rajya Sabha member, who was a close aide of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was admitted to hospital for age-related ailments last Tuesday. The immediate cause of his death was septicaemia (bloodstream infection) and acute kidney injury, PTI reported, citing a hospital source. “He was suffering from cancer,” the source said. He was admitted on July 31 with complaints of weakness and other ailments, and was shifted to the ICU on August 2 as his condition deteriorated.

Dhawan was Indira Gandhi’s personal secretary from 1962 to 1984 and was among her inner circle of leaders during the Emergency. He was the minister of state (independent charge) for housing and urban development during 1995-1996 and served on several parliamentary committees. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1990.

Several Congress leaders, including former President Pranab Mukherjee, expressed their condolences on Twitter.