New Delhi: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar died at his private residence in Panaji on Sunday evening after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 63.
The condition of Parrikar, diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February last year and in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York since then, had turned “extremely critical” on Sunday, the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted earlier in the day.
The former defence minister’s health, which had been fluctuating for over a year, took a turn for the worse in the past two days.
President Ram Nath Kovind was among the first to pay tributes, terming Parrikar an “epitome of integrity and dedication” and whose services to people of Goa and of India will not be forgotten.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Parrikar, who was among the first BJP leaders to propose him for Prime Minister, as “builder of modern Goa” and that the county would be “eternally grateful” to him for his tenure as Defence Minister.
The first Bharatiya Janata Party leader to be Goa Chief Minister, Parrikar headed the state from 2000-05 and 2012-14, before joining the Narendra Modi government as Defence Minister from 2014.
The country’s first Indian Institute of Technology alumnus to serve as Chief Minister of a state, he assumed the mantle on four occasions from 2000, but could not complete a single full term in office.
He returned to state politics in 2017 to lead a coalition government headed by the BJP and continued in office despite his protracted illness and criticism from the Opposition and civil society, which had repeatedly demanded his resignation on health grounds.
A widower, Parrikar is survived by his sons, Utpal and Abhijat, their wives and a grandson.