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Sathya Sai Baba breathes his last
Millions mourn demise, last rites to be performed on Wednesday 
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 24
Renowned spiritual leader Sathya Sai Baba passed away today after a prolonged illness, triggering an outpouring of grief by millions of his devotees across the world.The 85-year-old Baba had been battling for life for the past 27 days following a multi-organ dysfunction.

The godman breathed his last at 7.40 am at a super-specialty hospital he had built for the poor at Puttaparthi, his spiritual abode in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

“Sri Sathya Sai Baba is no more with us. He left his physical body at 7.40 am today due to cardio-respiratory failure,” said a statement issued by Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medicine where Baba was admitted on March 28.

As news of the revered spiritual guru’s death spread, a pall of gloom descended on Puttaparthi with grief-stricken devotees, many of them foreigners, weeping and praying on the roads. Baba’s body was shifted to Sai Kulwant Hall in the pilgrim town to enable the people to pay their last respects.

The last rites would be performed on Wednesday with full state honours, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy announced on his arrival at Puttaparthi. The state government has declared mourning for four days.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the country in condoling Baba's death, saying he was an inspiration to people of all faiths and that his death was an irreparable loss. Andhra Governor ESL Narasimhan paid homage to Baba along with a large number of leaders. Several VVIPs, including the PM, are likely to attend the funeral on Wednesday.

Contrary to the Hindu custom of cremating bodies, Sai Baba will be buried at the Sai Kulwant Hall in Prashanti Nilayam in tune with the practice adopted for spiritual leaders.

Andhra Pradesh minister J Geetha Reddy said the Baba's family and the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust had decided that his burial would take place on Wednesday.



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