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Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Sathya Sai Baba, one of India’s most famous spiritual gurus passed away on Sunday, triggering a global outpouring of grief and tributes from devotees across all walks of life, including politics, sport and entertainment.

He was 85 and finally succumbed to multiple organ failure after being in a critical condition for more than three weeks, AFP quoted his doctors as saying.

“Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He breathed his last at 7:40 am and died due to cardio-respiratory failure," a statement from the hospital in Puttaparthi, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, said.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said the nation would deeply mourn the death of Sai Baba, who "was an inspiration to people of all faiths."

"He was a spiritual leader who inspired millions to lead a moral and meaningful life," Singh said, adding that the softly-spoken guru taught "the universal ideals of truth, right conduct, peace, love and non-violence."

Over decades, millions of devotees across the world, and from many faiths, have supported through the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust’s numerous charitable projects in some of India’s most impoverished areas.

Today the trust runs the Sathya Sai University complex, the 220-bed Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, where Baba breathed his last; a world religion museum; a planetarium; a railway station; a hill-view stadium; a music college; an administrative building; an airport and an indoor sports stadium in Puttaparthi.

It also runs a specialty hospital in Bangalore, several other hospitals and dispensaries in the backward district of Anantapur. It also funded several drinking water projects, including one for 731 villages in Anantapur district, and Krishna water supply to Chennai.

See reports by AFPHindustan Times and Economic Times.

See also commentary:

The Hindu: ‘The secular spiritual leader’ (see also this)

Deccan Herald: ‘A man of miracles and divine sagacity'