Thousands bid farewell to former Indonesian President Wahid

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Jakarta, Dec 31 (ANI): Thousands of Indonesians came out on the streets to bid farewell to late President Abdurrahman Wahid, who died on Wednesday at the age of 69.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono led the memorial service before Wahid's burial in his East Java hometown, Jombang. Five thousand people lined the streets to welcome his motorcade.

Weeping admirers lit candles and incense and said prayers at vigils held at mosques, churches, temples, schools and landmarks.

Wahid was elected Indonesia's third president on Oct 20, 1999. While in office, he worked for peaceful solutions to secessionist movements in restive provinces such as Aceh and Papua.

Wahid, known fondly by his nickname Gus Dur, was a democratic reformer and proponent of moderate Islam who reached out to religious minorities in the world's most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Wahid ruled for nearly two years of tumult as Indonesia embarked on a path to democracy in 1999 after three decades of dictatorship, The Star reports.

He had been in the intensive care unit of the Ciptomangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta for the past week. The former president died during surgery to remove a blood clot in his heart, said professor Yusuf Misbach, head of his medical team.

Wahid's condition had deteriorated because of complications with diabetes and kidney failure, he said.

Abdurrahman ad-Dakhil Wahid was born Sept 7, 1940. His father, Wahid Hasyim, was an independence hero and a minister of religion in the government of Sukarno, Indonesia's founding father. (ANI)

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