Senior Indian Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel, one of Sonia Gandhi's closest political advisers, died of Covid-19 at a Gurgaon hospital in Delhi early Wednesday. He was 71.
The veteran politician had been at Medanta Hospital since his health worsened after a Covid infection.
In a tweet at around 4 am, his son, Faisal Patel, said that the Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat died at 3.30 am.
"With profound grief & sorrow, I regret to announce the sad and untimely demise of my father, Mr. Ahmed Patel at 25/11/2020, 03:30 AM. After testing positive for COVID-19 around a month back, his health worsened further due to multiple organ failures. May Allah grant him Jannatul firdaus, inshallah," he tweeted, requesting all their well-wishers to adhere to the COVID-19 regulations by avoiding mass gatherings.
"...also maintain social distancing norms at all times," Faisal Patel said in the statement.
Messages of condolences and tributes poured in soon after the announcement of Patel's death.
Mourning the death of Patel, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said she has lost an "irreplaceable comrade, a faithful colleague and a friend". "I have lost a colleague, whose entire life was dedicated to the Congress party," Gandhi said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered the seasoned politician, saying "his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered".
"Saddened by the demise of Ahmed Patel Ji. He spent years in public life, serving society. Known for his sharp mind, his role in strengthening the Congress Party would always be remembered. Spoke to his son Faisal and expressed condolences. May Ahmed Bhai's soul rest in peace," PM Modi tweeted.
Top Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called Mr Patel a "pillar of the Congress party". "He lived and breathed Congress and stood with the party through its most difficult times. He was a tremendous asset. We will miss him. My love and condolences to Faisal, Mumtaz & the family," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said Mr Patel was an experienced colleague to whom she "constantly turned for advice and counsel".
"...he was a friend who stood by us all, steadfast, loyal, and dependable to the end," she tweeted.
Ahmed Patel, also the treasurer of the Congress, had tested positive for the COVID-19 on October 1 and had been admitted to the ICU of Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon on November 15.
On October 1, Patel, while disclosing that he was tested positive for coronavirus, had urged all those who came in contact with him in past few days to undergo self-isolation.
The Congress treasurer was Lok Sabha MP for three terms from 1977 to 1989 and Rajya Sabha MP since 1993 representing Gujarat.
Patel also served as the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and was one of the party's top negotiators during the UPA regime.