New Delhi: Ramaswamy Venkataraman, who was India’s eighth president and helped draft the country’s constitution, died on Tuesday. He was 98.
Venkataraman served as president from 1987 to 1992 and before that was also the country’s vice president. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly that wrote India’s constitution, which was adopted in 1950. He was also a member of the country’s first Parliament.
“He served with distinction in various capacities in public life and ultimately rose to occupy the highest office of the nation,” president Pratibha Patil said in a condolence message released to the media. “In his passing away, the nation has lost a true patriot and a distinguished luminary.”
Venkataraman was admitted to the hospital on 12 January with complaints of delirium and dehydration, and his condition progressively deteriorated, a government statement said.
His wife and son-in-law were with him when he died, Brig. A.K. Sharma, a spokesman at the army hospital where he was treated, said.
The government will observe a seven-day mourning period for Venkataraman and the Indian flag will fly at half mast, the statement said.