Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh) April 24 Sathya Sai Baba, one of India's most famous spiritual leaders with thousands of followers in the country and abroad, died here Sunday after a prolonged illness. He was 85.
Sai Baba, whom his devotees worshipped as god, was suffering from multi-organ dysfunction. He breathed his last at the Sathya Sai super-speciality hospital, where he was admitted March 28 with cardiac problems.
"Sri Sathya Sai Baba is no more with us. He left his physical body at 7.40 a.m. April 24, 2011 due to cardio-respiratory failure," said a statement from the hospital.
Sai Baba, whose real name was Sathyanarayana Raju, was born Nov 23, 1926 at Puttaparthi. In 1940, he claimed he is an "avatar" of god.
He became famous with his miracles but stopped performing the same after rationalists accused him of fraud. Since then Sai Baba had been focusing on social and charitable work.
The Sai Baba Trust runs a state-of-the-art hospital, university and several other institutions to serve the poor in over 160 countries.
His devotees are spread across the world and they include the heads of states and governments, politicians, film and sports personalities, judges and army officials.
President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had attended Baba's 85th birthday celebrations last year.