George Mathew Fernandes, former Defence Minister, passed away at the age of 88 on Tuesday, in New Delhi, following a prolonged illness according to reports.

According to reports, the politico, was suffering from Alzheimer's and had recently contracted Swine Flu.

Source: Money Control

Fernandes had served as the Defence Minister between 1998 and 2004 in the NDA government led by late PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He also served as the Union Minister of Railways and Communications during his stint as a parliamentarian.

Source: The Wire

Known as an anti-Emergency crusader and a civil rights activist, he was arrested during the 1975 Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government.

A key member of the Janata Dal, in 1994, Fernandes founded the Samata Party, which later on, merged to become Janata Dal (United). Fernandes had also been a senior member in the cabinet of Morarji Desai, in 1997.

Tributes poured in on Twitter, immediately after the reports of his demise.

His term as the Defence Minister was eventful as it witnessed the Kargil war and Pokhran test. He will always be remembered for his contributions to India's Defence sector.

May his soul rest in peace.