The sudden demise of former president A P J Abdul Kalam has been a tremendous loss.  Kalam, 84, passed away in Meghalaya capital Shillong on Monday evening.  Kalam fell ill at a function in Shillong and was rushed to the hospital, M Kharkrang, SP Khasi Hills, said.

The former President collapsed during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong at around 6.30pm and was taken to the hospital.

“As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, seven days of state mourning will be observed throughout India from July 27, 2015 to August 2, 2015, both days inclusive,” an official statement said.

However, all central government offices will remain open and no holiday has been declared.

During the period of state mourning, the national flag will fly at half-mast on all buildings throughout the country where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment.

The date, time and venue of the state funeral will be intimated later.

Dr Kalam, who would have turned 84 in October, died after suffering a massive cardiac arrest during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management Shillong. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.

A career scientist turned reluctant politician, Kalam was elected President of India in 2002 with the support of both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Indian National Congress.

After serving a term of five years, he returned to his civilian life of education, writing and public service. He received several prestigious awards, including the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honor. Celebrities, politicians and civilians alike have posted on Twitter, regarding the leader’s demise.