Indonesia’s former president Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, died in Jakarta’s Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital on Wednesday. He was 69 years old.
Dr. Arif Wibudi officially announced the death, saying Gus Dur’s
condition had declined suddenly at 11:30 a.m. from complications of diabetes, kidney failure, and stroke.
At 6.15 p.m. his condition became critical, and thirty minutes later he passed away.
The former presdient had been admitted to Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital on December 26 after becoming ill while traveling in East Java.
Gus Dur served as president from 1999-2001 during the turbulent years following the resignation of strongman Suharto in 1998.
“The one thing that I found him … it sounds like a cliche; I
found him very human,” said Dharmawan Ronodipuro, a palace spokesman under Gus Dur.
“On the one hand he could be brilliant, but on the other hand
sometimes he could just be wacky. There were two sides. He’s a very complex
person. It’s difficult to try to describe him.”
The former president remained influential at home and abroad even after his presidency collapsed and he was replaced by Megawati Sukarnoputri.
In late October he visited the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office to lend his support to embattled deputies Bibid Samad Rianto and Chandra Hamzah. He was listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslim figures in a book published by Washington’s Georgetown University last month.
Gus Dur was born on September 7, 1940 in Jombang, East Java. He became head of the Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama in 1984 and founded the National Awakening Party (PKB) in 1999 before running for president.