India: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam Dies at 83

Published: July 27, 2015

India: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam Dies at 83, Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, one of India’s most renowned rocket scientists who served as the nation’s 11th president, died of cardiac arrest on Monday at the age of 83.

Kalam was hospitalized after collapsing during a lecture in the northeastern city of Shillong, local media station NDTV reports. He held longstanding leadership positions for India’s defense and space programs, and was elected president with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in July of 2002.

Tributes poured in from Indian luminaries on social media, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and world-renowned cricket player Sachin Tendulkar:

India mourns the loss of a great scientist, a wonderful President & above all an inspiring individual. RIP Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 27, 2015

Former President of India, a renowned scientist, an inspiration to all, a terrific human being…RIP Dr. Abdul Kalam (2/2)

— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) July 27, 2015

Kalam told TIME in a 1998 interview that he developed an early fascination with flight while growing up on the south Indian isle of Rameshwaram. “Then there were a lot of birds on the island,” he said, “and I used to watch their beautiful flight paths. That got me interested in aeronautics.”

India: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam Dies at 83


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