Sathya Sai Baba passes away

Sri Sathya Sai Baba, whose spiritual clout ran far and wide, passed away on Sunday morning in Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district due to cardio-respiratory failure. Sai Baba, who was 86, breathed his last at 7.40 AM at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, its Director A N Safaya said in a bulletin on Sunday. "Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba is no more with us physically. He left his earthly body on April 24, 2011 at 7:40 AM due to cardio-respiratory failure," it said.
The body will lie in state at Sai Kulwant Hall for two days -- Monday and Tuesday, it said, adding that arrangements will be made for darshan after 6:00 pm Sunday at the Hall. "We appeal to all not to rush to the hospital, but to remain calm and have Darshan in an orderly manner," it said. A pall of gloom descended on this town, 450 km from Hyderabad, as the news of Sai Baba's death spread. His family members, four ministers and government officials rushed to the hospital following reports that the Sai Baba's condition had deteriorated further. There has been a complete shutdown in Puttaparthi since morning following reports about deterioration in the condition of Sai Baba. Sai Baba was hospitalised on 28th March following problems related to heart and respiration. Anxious devotees of the Sai Baba, whose followers range from top politicians to industrialists, gathered at 'Prashanti Nilayam', the spiritual resort of the leader, 6 kms from the hospital. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has rushed for Puttaparthi from Hyderabad following the Baba's death. Police, which has been deployed in large numbers here, has put up barricades for crowd control.