New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee passed away on Monday. He was 84 years old. The announcement was made by his son Abhijit Mukherjee, reported news agency ANI. 

"With a Heavy Heart, this is to inform you that my father Shri Pranab Mukherjee has just passed away in spite of the best efforts of Doctors of RR Hospital & prayers, duas & Prarthana from people throughout India! I thank all of You," he tweeted. 

The flag at Parliament was lowered to half-mast. The former president's funeral will be held today. Meanwhile, the Centre said that a "seven-day state mourning will be observed throughout India from 31 August to 6 September, both days inclusive."

Pranab Mukherjee was in a critical condition for the past several days and was kept on ventilator support at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital after undergoing brain surgery. 

Earlier this month, Abhijit himself had rubbished rumours about his father's health, saying the media "has become a factory of fake news". 

On August 10, the former President had tweeted, "On a visit to the hospital for a separate procedure, I have tested positive for Covid-19 today. I request the people who came in contact with me in the last week, to please self isolate and get tested for COVID-19."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief on the demise of the former President of India, calling him "a scholar par excellence" and "a towering statesman". 

"India grieves the passing away of Bharat Ratna Shri Pranab Mukherjee. 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," tweeted PM Modi. 

"As India’s President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee made Rashtrapati Bhavan even more accessible to common citizens. He made the President’s house a centre of learning, innovation, culture, science and literature. His wise counsel on key policy matters will never be forgotten by me," he added. 

Modi also tweeted the photo of him being administered oath as the prime minister by Mukherjee in 2014. "I was new to Delhi in 2014. From Day 1, I was blessed to have the guidance, support and blessings of Shri Pranab Mukherjee. I will always cherish my interactions with him. Condolences to his family, friends, admirers and supporters across India. Om Shanti," he wrote.   

Expressing grief on the news, President Ram Nath Kovind tweeted: "Sad to hear that former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee is no more. 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 & all citizens."

"Endowed with perspicacity and wisdom, Bharat Ratna Shri Mukherjee combined tradition and modernity. In his 5 decade long illustrious public life, he remained rooted to the ground irrespective of the exalted offices he held. He endeared himself to people across political spectrum."

"As the First Citizen, he continued to connect with everyone, bringing Rashtrapati Bhavan closer to the people. He opened its gates for public visit. His decision to discontinue the use of the honorific 'His Excellency' was historic," Kovind added. 

Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and several other politicians also mourned the demise of Mukherjee, calling him "one of the greatest sons" of Mother India. 

The former president was admitted to the hospital in Delhi Cantonment on August 10 and was operated the same day for removal of a clot in his brain. He later developed a lung infection.

Mukherjee was President of India from 2012 to 2017.

The former President's daughter and Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee, in a tweet, had remembered this time last year when he had received the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour.

"Last year August 8 was one of the happiest days for me as my dad received Bharat Ratna. Exactly a year later on August 10 he fell critically ill. May God do whatever is best for him and give me strength to accept both joys and sorrows of life with equanimity. I sincerely thank all for their concerns," she had posted

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta