Chennai: Union Minister of Science and Technology, and Earth Sciences Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was suffering from a serious liver and kidney ailment, died at a Chennai hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Deshmukh died of multiple organ failure around 1:40 pm.
His funeral will take place in the Babhalgaon village in Latur. Deshmukh is survived by his wife Vaishali Deshmukh and three sons.
Deshmukh was admitted to Chennai's Global Hospitals on August 6 and the doctors had been planning to retrieve the liver from a donor at the hospital for him.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee condoled Deshmukh's death. UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said it was a great loss to the party.
Both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned till Thursday after the news of Deshmukh's death.
Reacting to the news, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said, "He has a great amount of following within the Congress. There were signs of improvement on and off. We were hopeful that his health would improve."
Congress leader Milind Deora said, "I know his family very well. He was a great leader, administrator. He had some ups and downs in his career. He did make mistakes in his political career, but who doesn't? His greatest strength was that he was a great leader, orator, organiser. He had control over his organisation. He was able to run the coalition government ably. He was a great campaigner for the party."
The 67-year-old former Maharashtra chief minister had shown signs of improvement and had been on and off the ventilator before being prepared for a transplant.
However, an attempt to harvest liver from a brain dead donor from a government hospital had proved futile as the man died before doctors could operate on him.
Deshmukh had been shifted to Chennai from Mumbai in an air ambulance in a critical condition.
Born on May 26, 1945 at Babhalgaon in Latur district of Maharashtra, he was the tallest Maratha leader in the Congress party.
Even as Vilasrao Deshmukh was caught in the Adarsh Housing Society scam and was under fire after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, he was seen by most as a grassroots leader and respected by many.
(With additional information from PTI)