A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Shillong: Former Indian president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam died here on Monday evening following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said.

Dr Abdul Kalam, 84, was rushed to Bethany hospital in Nongrim hills after he collapsed while delivering a lecture to students at the Indian Institute of Management at around 6.30pm.

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The Chief Secretary of the north-eastern state of Meghalaya, PBO Warjiri, told reporters outside the hospital that he had spoken to Union Home Secretary LC Goyal asking for necessary arrangements to be made for carrying Abdul Kalam's body from Guwahati to Delhi tomorrow.

Born in 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, Dr Abdul Kalam was an Indian scientist who served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.

He spent more than 40 years as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was intimately involved in the India's civilian space programme and military missile development efforts.

He came to be known as India’s Missile Man for his work on the development of ballistic missiles and launch vehicle technology, and played a critical role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.

He received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.