World's youngest Microsoft certified professional, Arfa Karim Randhawa, dead

Lahore:  Arfa Karim Randhawa, the world's youngest Microsoft certified professional, has died in a hospital here at the age of 16, her family said on Sunday.

Randhawa was admitted to a military hospital in Lahore two weeks ago after she suffered epileptic seizures that caused brain damage on December 22.

Doctors pronounced her dead late on Saturday night.

"Arfa was hospitalised in a critical condition with meagre chances of survival because of a severe attack of idiopathic epilepsy fits.

There were almost no signs of life as neither her heart was functioning nor blood was circulating to the brain," senior neurosurgeon Zafar Iqbal said.

Her father, Col (retired) Amjad Karim said, "It is hard to bear the loss but I request the people of Pakistan to help fulfil her dreams in the education sector."

Microsoft owner Bill Gates, who invited Randhawa to visit his company's headquarters in the US in 2004, had offered to bear the expenses of her treatment in America but the teenager could not be taken abroad due to her fragile health.

Randhawa was only nine when she became the youngest Microsoft professional after completing her MCP in 2004.

She received numerous awards and gold medals from public and private institutions for her achievements, including the President's Award for Pride of Performance and Fatimah Jinnah Gold Medal.

Pakistanis took to social networking sites to express their grief at the death of the girl and President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani were among those who paid tributes to her.

In separate messages, Zardari and Gilani expressed grief at her death and prayed that God would grant courage to her family to bear the loss with fortitude.
Story First Published: January 16, 2012 09:38 IST

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