Veteran Indian politician Sushma Swaraj, 67, passed away in New Delhi late Tuesday after suffering cardiac arrest, according to a hospital statement.
A senior leader of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Swaraj was the country’s foreign minister from 2014 to 2019, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term in office.
She was the second woman to hold the office in India’s history.
“A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
“India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor. Sushma Swaraj Ji was one of her kind, who was a source of inspiration for crores of people.”
Modi further said: “Sushma Ji was a prolific orator and outstanding Parliamentarian. She was admired and revered across party lines.
“She was uncompromising when it came to matters of ideology and interests of the BJP, whose growth she immensely contributed to.”
On Wednesday, a visibly emotional Modi along with other senior BJP members, visited her home to pay their final respects.
Later Wednesday, her body is scheduled to be taken to the party’s headquarters in the national capital for the public to do the same, which will be followed by the cremation and a final prayer ceremony.
Tributes for Swaraj have continued to pour in from across the political spectrum.
The former president of the main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, tweeted: “I’m shocked to hear about the demise of Sushma Swaraj Ji, an extraordinary political leader, a gifted orator & an exceptional Parliamentarian, with friendships across party lines.”
Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal state and head of the All India Trinamool Congress, also took to Twitter to share her condolences.
“Deeply saddened, shocked at the sudden passing away of Sushma Swaraj Ji.I knew her since the 1990s.Even though our ideologies differed, we shared many cordial times in Parliament. An outstanding politician, leader, good human being,” Banerjee tweeted.
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai posted photos of past meetings with Swaraj, writing: “Deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Behinji Sushma Swaraj. A tall leader and a great orator and people’s person. My profound condolences to the people of India and her family and friends.”