Congress President Sonia Gandhi said Pranab Mukherjee, who died on Monday, was an “integral part” of the party, national life and the central government for over five decades, The Indian Express reported. “It is hard to imagine how we can do without his wisdom, experience, sage advice and deep understanding of so many subjects,” Gandhi added.

Gandhi made the comments in a condolence letter she wrote to Mukherjee’s daughter Sharmishtha Mukherjee. “He brought distinction to every post he held, he established a genuine rapport with colleagues across the political spectrum, and he served our country with the utmost dedication,” the Congress president said.

Gandhi said the former president’s life in the last 50 years mirrored the history of India during these years. “He played a crucial role both in shaping the course of events as well actively participating in them, whether as a cabinet minister, parliamentarian or President of India,” she wrote to his daughter.

Mukherjee had been in a critical condition since a brain surgery on August 10 and had also tested positive for the coronavirus. Mukherjee’s health had worsened on Sunday due to a lung infection. He was being treated at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi.

The Congress remembered Mukherjee for his “integrity and compassion”. “We are deeply pained by the passing of Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Former President of India and one of the tallest leaders of the Congress,” the party said in a tweet.

‘One of the greatest leaders of Independent India’

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the country had lost “one of its greatest leaders of Independent India”. “He and I worked very closely in the government of India and I depended on him a great deal for his wisdom, vast knowledge and experience of public affairs,” Singh said in a statement.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Mukherjee for his leadership and remembered his advice on key matters. “India grieves the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee,” Modi tweeted. “He has left an indelible mark on the development trajectory of our nation. A scholar par excellence, a towering statesman, he was admired across the political spectrum and by all sections of society.”

Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu said the country has lost a statesman. “I learnt with profound grief the passing away of former President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee,” Naidu said in a statement. “He was a statesman and an illustrious son of India, who rose from humble beginnings to occupy the country’s highest constitutional position through hard work, discipline and dedication.”

President Ram Nath Kovind also mourned Mukherjee’s death. “Sad to hear that former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee is no more,” he wrote on Twitter. “His demise is passing of an era. A colossus in public life, he served Mother India with the spirit of a sage. The nation mourns losing one of its worthiest sons. Condolences to his family, friends and all citizens.”

‘Mukherjee was like a guide to RSS’

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said Mukherjee was like a “guide” to his organisation. Mukherjee had controversially given a speech at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur in 2018. “Mukherjee was like a guide to RSS and affectionate towards us; his death an irreparable loss to Sangh,” Bhagwat said according to PTI.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said “the loss for many of us is personal”. “The last time I shared a stage with Pranab Mukherjee, our respected Pranab-da, was just a few months ago,” Tharoor tweeted. “He seemed well and spoke at length in his inimitable style. The loss for so many of us is personal as well as political. A statesman and guide is no more.”

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a tweet that India has lost a “ virtuous and devoted son”.

Tributes from foreign leaders and organisations

United States Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Tuesday said Mukherjee believed deeply in the importance of India and the US tackling global challenges together, PTI reported. “President Shri Pranab Mukherjee was a devout public servant who believed deeply in the importance of our two nations tackling global challenges together,” Biden said. “Jill and I are saddened by his passing – our prayers go out to his loved ones and the Indian people.”

The US India Business Council said with Mukherjee’s death, India lost an “incredible statesman”. On the other hand, The New York Times described Mukherjee as the “Indispensable Man of Indian Politics”.

The Indian Overseas Congress also expressed condolences. “He was a quintessential congressman, formidable leader and a great parliamentarian,” George Abraham, vice chairperson of the organisation said. “We also pay tribute to the pivotal role he has played in passing the Indo-US civil nuclear treaty despite the coalition partners’ threats.”

The North American Telugu Society said Mukherjee leaves behind a rich legacy of work that will inspire future generations.

Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli expressed grief over Mukherjee’s death. “I am deeply saddened by the news of passing away of former President of India Pranab Mukherjee,” he wrote on Twitter. “Heartfelt condolences to the government and people of India as well as the bereaved family members.”

Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering also mourned Mukherjee’s death. “On behalf of the people of Bhutan, I offer our deepest condolences to the people of India on the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee,” he tweeted. “We offer our sincere prayers and wish his family all the strength.”

Beijing said the death of Mukherjee was a “heavy loss” for the India-China friendship, reported PTI. “Former President Mukherjee was a veteran statesman of India,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing on Tuesday. “In his 50 years in politics, he made positive contributions to China-India relations.”

“It is a heavy loss for China-India friendship and to India,” she added. “We express deep condolences over his passing and extend sincere sympathies to the Indian government and his family.”