New Delhi: Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi on Wednesday passed away at the age of 65 due to coronavirus. He is the first member of the Union Cabinet to have died of the viral infection. The Home Ministry has decided that the national flag will be flown at half mast in all government offices on Thursday as a mark of tribute. Also Read - 'World-Class Service Provider, Left an Indelible Mark': Tributes Pour in From Political Circle on Demise of Suresh Angadi

Angadi had announced on Twitter on September 11 that he had contracted the disease. Also Read - Coronavirus: Cabinet Secretary Holds Video-Conference With States As Lockdown 4.0 Nears End | Highlights

The junior Railways minister passed away at around 8 pm at the AIIMS trauma centre which has been converted into a dedicated COVID-19 facility, sources at the hospital said. Also Read - 'Offered Them 125 Trains But Received Details of Just 41,' Piyush Goyal Slams Maharashtra Government

Angadi was born in Koppa village in Belagavi district of Karnataka and held several positions in the party before beginning his political career as the BJP vice president from Belgaum.

A fourth-term MP from Belagavi, he was also an educationist who offered courses in commerce, science, computer, business administration as well as engineering.

Moments after the news broke, tributes poured in from the political circle as Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered him as “an exceptional karyakarta”.

“Suresh Angadi was a dedicated MP and effective minister, admired across the spectrum. His demise is saddening. My thoughts are with his family and friends in this sad hour,” PM Modi tweeted.

Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal also expressed his condolences and said, “Deeply anguished at the unfortunate demise of Suresh Angadi ji. He was like my brother. Words fall short to describe his commitment & dedication towards the people. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this hour of need. Om Shanti”.

Former Prime Minister and JDS chief HD Deve Gowda expressed his sadness over the demise and tweeted that Angadi was “like a younger brother”.

President Ram Nath Kovind condoled, “Shocked to know the passing away of Shri Suresh Angadi, Union Minister of State of Railways. An amiable leader Shri Angadi worked tirelessly for the people of his constituency, Belagavi and Karnataka.”

Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar also termed the death as a tragic, terrible, and an “unfathomable loss” to the government.

“Shocked & Saddened by news of my MoS colleague, Shri Suresh Angadi ji’s passing away. It is an unfathomable loss to the Government, people of Karnataka & the Party. His selfless service during COVID19 is still vivid before our eyes. My condolences to his family,” tweeted MoS, Home G Kishan Reddy.

At least six MLAs and three MPs have earlier succumbed to it. Former President Pranab Mukherjee, who died on August 31, was also diagnosed as COVID-19 positive.