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Messiah of millions Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Puttaparthi (AP): After battling with illness for several days, 85-year-old spiritual guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away on Sunday, sending millions of his followers across the world into mourning.

Sai Baba died of cardiac and respiratory failure after a prolonged illness, a health bulletin issued by the hospital said. His condition had deteriorated further early this morning and his organs had stopped responding to treatment, doctors said.

“Sathya Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He left his body at 7.40 am due to cardiac and respiratory failure,” said the statement issued by the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences where Sai Baba was undergoing treatment.

Family members had been called in this morning at the hospital.

The bulletin said Baba’s body will lie in state at Sai Kulwant Hall here for two days – on Monday and Tuesday. Arrangements will be made for darshan after 6.00 pm today, it added.

Security was also tightened in Puttaparthi before the news was passed on to the media. More than 6,000 policemen have been deployed in the town.

The 86-year-old Sai Baba was hospitalised on March 28 following problems related to heart and respiration.

For the first time since Sai Baba was admitted to the hospital, the doctors did not issue a morning bulletin today, heightening anxiety in this pilgrim town.

In the Saturday evening bulletin, the doctors had termed Baba’s condition as very critical.

Though prohibitory orders have been in force in Puttaparthi for the last several days, lakhs of devotees have congregated in the town hoping in vain for a miracle.

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