The last rites of George Fernandes will be performed after his son arrives from the US, the former defence minister's wife Leila Kabir said on Tuesday.
A number of leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajanth Singh, BJP president Amit Shah and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, visited the bereaved family at their residence in New Delhi's upscale Panchsheel Park to pay their respects.
"I wish to inform my fellow countrymen that George Fernandes, my husband who was former defence minister and Member of Parliament, passed away today in the early hours. He was suffering from Alzheimer's," she said.
A lifelong socialist despite his political adventurism that included cabinet posts in two ideologically opposite governments where he ousted Coca-Cola in 1977 and oversaw the Kargil war in 1999, Mr Fernandes died at his home on Tuesday. He was 88.
His body was taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for embalming, Ms Kabir said in a statement.
She said the last rites will be conducted soon "after our son, Sean Fernandes, arrives in India (from the US). As soon as Sean arrives, we will finalise the timing of the last rites and will inform all".
The body has been kept at our house in Panchsheel Park for friends and associates to pay their last respects, she added.
"I and my son are grateful to every one who have come or messaged us to share our grief," Ms Kabir said.
Rajnath Singh, interacting with reporters, said, "I had the opportunity to work with him in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. I pay my sincerest tributes to him."
BJP chief Amit Shah termed Mr Fernandes' death an "irreparable loss" to Indian politics. He dedicated his entire to the nation and welfare of the poor and always fought for democratic values.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman paid her respects to Mr Fernandes at AIIMS by laying a wreath.
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