Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday condoled the death of Assam’s longest serving chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, and said he was anguished by his passing away.

“Shri Tarun Gogoi Ji was a popular leader and a veteran administrator, who had years of political experience in Assam as well as the Centre,” Modi tweeted. “Anguished by his passing away. My thoughts are with his family and supporters in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti.”

Gogoi, who had been battling for his life with post-Covid complications in a hospital for weeks, died of a multiple organ failure on Monday. The 86-year-old three-time Congress chief minister, who represented the Titabor Assembly constituency in Jorhat district, had tested positive for the coronavirus on August 25. He was among 24 legislators from the state to have contracted the infection.

President Ram Nath Kovind, too, expressed his grief and remembered Gogoi’s illustrious political career, saying his tenure in office was a “period of epochal change” in Assam. “The country has lost a veteran leader with rich political and administrative experience,” Kovind wrote on Twitter.

“He will always be remembered for the development of Assam and especially towards his efforts to improve law and order and fighting insurgency in the state,” the president added. “His passing away marks the end of an era.”

Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the politician was one of the tallest leaders of the party who was admired and respected for his extraordinary wisdom, vision and ability, PTI reported. In a letter to Gaurav Gogoi, the son of Tarun Gogoi, Gandhi offered her condolences and said former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, too, held him in high regard.

“With his long years of experience as an MLA, an MP, a Central Minister and Chief Minister of Assam, he was someone to whose unfailingly wise counsel and advice we could always turn to,” she added. Gandhi said Gogoi’s death was a “deeply personal” loss for her.

“I cannot forget the warmth and care he showed on me on my many visits to Assam. During those visits, I saw how loved he was by all the many communities and people of Assam, how much he had done for them, and for their progress and welfare. No wonder he was Assam’s most universally loved and venerated public figure and the longest-serving Chief Minister of the state.”

— Sonia Gandhi, PTI

The Congress chief said Gogoi’s life was cut short by the “cruel pandemic”, but he leaves a “precious and lasting legacy” in the standards he set and in his immense contribution to national life. “The Congress party will always honour his memory,” she said.

Rahul Gandhi said Gogoi was a “true Congress leader” who devoted his life to bringing all the people and communities of Assam together. “For me, he was a great and wise teacher,” Gandhi wrote. “I loved and respected him deeply.”

The Congress leader added that he will miss Gogoi and gave his love and condolences to the family.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described Gogoi as one of his dearest friends from Assam and said the country has lost a very good leader who always worked for the betterment of the poor and downtrodden.

In his condolence message to the former chief minister’s wife, Dolly Gogoi, Singh said he was the most popular leader from Assam. “He was one of my dearest friends from the state of Assam,” Singh wrote. “With his hard work, pleasant nature and popularity, he became one of the tallest leaders of the state, who led the Congress party in Assam for a long time.”

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who cancelled his engagements in Dibrugarh and flew back to Guwahati, offered his condolences and remembered Gogoi as a vibrant leader “who was full of life until a few days back”. “It’s the end of an era in Assam’s public life,” Sonowal added.

Union Home Minister said he was anguished to learn about Gogoi’s death and called it a “tragic loss”.

Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said Gogoi was a successful chief minister and a popular leader of Assam who made a “handsome contribution” to the state’s development during his stint as the chief minister, reported PTI.

“In his demise, Assam and the nation at large has lost an experienced and learned leader,” Singh added in a statement. “Pay my respects to late Shri Gogoi and convey my condolences to the members of the bereaved family.”

More tributes pour in: