Guwahati, Jul 28: The body of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who died in Shillong last evening, was carried to Delhi early this morning by a special aircraft from here. Last respects were paid to the late former President at the tarmac of the airport after his body was brought to Guwahati from Shillong by an Air Force helicopter.
Several leaders including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and senior IAF officials joined in paying tribute here to India's 'Missile Man' whose departure has plunged the nation into overwhelming grief. Wrapped in tricolour, the casket carrying his body was taken inside the aircraft as mournful hymn played in the background.
Kalam, who would have turned 84 in October died after suffering a massive cardiac arrest during a lecture at the IIM Shillong yesterday. He was confirmed dead more than two hours after he was wheeled into the ICU of Bethany Hospital in a critical condition following the collapse at around 6.30 PM.
The body of the late former president was shifted from Bethania Hospital, where he breathed his last, to the Military Hospital in Shillong, Defence Public Relations Officer Amit Mahajan said. The Union Cabinet is to hold a special meeting in New Delhi today to condole his death.
The date, place and time of his funeral would also be decided today. The government has announced a seven-day state morning in honour of Kalam, who became affectionately known as the 'people's President. He became the 11th head of the state and occupied the post between 2002 and 2007.