APJ Abdul Kalam's Final Journey Begins, Body Flown To Delhi

28/07/2015 8:31 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Draped in the national flag, the body of former president APJ Abdul Kalam will be flown to Delhi this morning from Guwahati, Assam in a special Air Force plane.

Kalam died yesterday after collapsing while delivering a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Shillong. By the time he was rushed to the hospital, he had died of a massive cardiac arrest.

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi laid a wreath on the casket containing Kalam's mortal remains. It was flown in from Shillong, where the armed forces had paid a ceremonial tribute. "It is an irreparable loss to the nation. He loved children, he loved the nation. I have met him many times. I took him to rural areas of Assam. He was a very simple and honest man. Along with India, entire state is mourning his death," Gogoi said.

Last respects were paid at the tarmac of the Lokapriya Gopinath Borodoloi International Airport. Meghalaya Governor V Shanmughanathan and former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta were also among politicians and officials who paid their respects to the 'people's President'.

After about an hour and a half at Guwahati, the special plane flew with the casket to the national capital. The Union Cabinet is will have a special meeting Tuesday to condole his death. The government has announced a nationwide seven-day state mourning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive the casket at the Delhi airport. He will also attend the full ceremonial funeral at Rameswaram by the armed forces, the date and time of which will be decided today.

Politicians across the ideological spectrum paid tributes to Kalam. His Twitter handle was changed to a memoriam.

Popularly known as "Missile Man," Kalam led the scientific team that developed missiles able to carry India's nuclear warheads. He became a national folk hero after helping oversee nuclear tests in 1998 that solidified India's status as a nuclear weapons state. India's first atomic test was in 1974.

READ: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam Dies At 83

Kalam's last meeting before his lecture was with a jawan, who was in the pilot vehicle ahead of Kalam's car.

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