On the command of His Majesty The King, the National Flag will be flown at half mast as Bhutan joins the people of India in mourning the sudden demise of India’s 11th President, (Dr)APJ Abdul Kalam yesterday evening.

A thousand-butter lamps will be offered at the Kunrey (congregation hall) of the Trashichhodzong, today. Former President Kalam died yesterday evening at a hospital in Meghalaya, where he had gone to deliver a lecture. He was 83.

Late yesterday evening, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said he was deeply saddened to hear of the sudden demise of President Abdul Kalam,  India’s iconic president. “He was a leader, greatly admired by all people, especially the youth of India who have referred to him as the people’s President,” he said.

According to Indian media, the former President had collapsed during the lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, around 6.30 pm.  He was taken to the Bethany hospital. India’s NDTV reported that the former President had suffered from a massive cardiac arrest.

“President Kalam was brought to the hospital at 7 pm. When he was brought in there was no sign of life. He was taken to ICU to try and revive him, which was futile,” hospital sources told NDTV. The government will declare a seven-day national mourning.

Known as the Missile Man of India, President Kalam had played a pivotal role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear test in 1998. He was one of the most loved Presidents and was also known as the People’s President, the NDTV reports.