An era in Mumbai and Maharashtra politics came to an end on Saturday when Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, 86, passed away. Dr Jalil Parker, his doctor of four years, announced that Thackeray had died of cardiac-respiratory arrest at around 3.30pm.
The state Cabinet will meet at 9am today to decide on according a state funeral to Bal Thackeray.
Thackeray’s body will be taken to Shivaji Park, the ground associated with the birth and the rise of the Sena since 1966, at 7am on Sunday. The cremation will be held later at around 6pm.
News of Thackeray’s demise came just a day after Sena leader Sanjay Raut announced that the Sena supremo was recovering and would soon make a public appearance. Even on Saturday morning, former CM Manohar Joshi claimed that Thackeray was recovering.
But a flurry of activity outside Matoshree, the Thackerays residence which had been besieged by Sena supporters and media, indicated something amiss. At 5pm on Saturday, Dr Parker announced that despite doctors’ best efforts, they were unable to revive Thackeray.
Doctors say his condition worsened over the last four weeks, particularly in the last four days. According to sources, it was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) — a condition in which airways in the lungs become constricted, making it hard to breathe — accompanied by a pancreatic ailment that led to his death.
“In June this year he was diagnosed with a pancreatic ailment,” said one of his doctors. Doctors say that it was because of his COPD that they couldn’t operate on him for the pancreatic ailment. “Only 30% of his lung was functional, so surgery was not advisable. We went for alternative medicines,” said another doctor. Doctors said his condition was so bad that even a small speech left him breathless.
In the last six months, his pancreatic condition worsened, blocking his bile duct and leading to obstructive jaundice. “He stopped taking food and fluid orally four weeks back. During this time, his liver failed. His urine output was poor and that lead to kidney failure. The toxic circulation in his blood affected his heart and lead to cardiac respiratory failure,” doctors said.
Thackeray’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse on Wednesday. Over the last three days, doctors tried their best, but his condition never really improved despite statements to the contrary by Sena leaders. On Saturday morning, his health worsened and he died at 3.33pm in Matoshree.