Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel died in the early hours of Wednesday due to multiple organ failure, his son Faisal Patel said. He was 71 years old. On October 1, Ahmed Patel had tweeted saying that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

“After testing positive for Covid-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures,” Faisal Patel said in a statement. “I request all well wishers to adhere to Covid-19 law & order regulations by avoiding any mass gatherings and to also maintain social distancing norms at all times.”

On November 15, Ahmed Patel was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Medanta Hospital in Gurugram for treatment.

The Congress treasurer was elected as MP in the Lok Sabha for three terms between 1977 and 1989. He was also the Rajya Sabha MP since 1993 from Gujarat. Ahmed Patel was also the political secretary to party President Sonia Gandhi for several years.

A number of politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi, expressed their condolences. “Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji,” Modi tweeted. “He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai’s soul rest in peace.”

Congress President Sonia Gandhi said she had lost an “irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend” whose life was dedicated to the party, according to PTI. “I mourn his passing and I feel deeply for his bereaved family to whom I offer my sincere feelings of empathy and support,” she said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said it was a sad day and called Ahmed Patel “a pillar of the Congress party”. “He lived and breathed Congress and stood with the party through its most difficult times,” Gandhi tweeted. “He was a tremendous asset. We will miss him. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz and the family.”

Congress’ Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Ahmed Patel’s death left an “immense void”. “Ahmed ji was not only a wise and experienced colleague to whom I constantly turned for advice and counsel, he was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end,” she tweeted.

Party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Ahmed Patel was loyal and dutiful and a person who “considered the party as his family” and “who always made a mark by erasing political boundaries”.