Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, who passed away in Jakarta on Wednesday evening, served as president of Indonesia between May 1998 and October 1999. (Antara Photo)

B.J. Habibie Passes Away at 83

BY :NUR YASMIN

SEPTEMBER 11, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesians are mourning the passing of the country's third president, Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie, who died at the age of 83 in Jakarta on Wednesday evening.

"In the name of the great God, I announce with a heavy heart that my father passed away at 6.03 p.m.," Thareq Kemal Habibie, the former president's second son, said in a statement.

B.J. Habibie had been in the intensive care unit of Army Central Hospital in Jakarta since Monday, where a team of presidential doctors treated him.

Thareq said his father died from a heart condition.

"His organs were aging, as he was, so his heart gave up. I was there until the last second. The doctors did their best; there was nothing else they could do. Please send your prayers and condolences, we thank you," Thareq said on behalf of the family.

The late president was often consulted for advice. He was also known for his achievements in aviation and aerospace engineering.

The technocrat spent his life studying abroad before his predecessor, the late President Suharto, called him home to serve as a minister.

Habibie eventually became Suharto's deputy, and continued as president during the transition period when the military strongman was forced to step down in May 1998, after ruling for 32 years.

He implemented various reforms in the post-Suharto era, such as liberalizing the press and laws on political parties, before holding a democratic election in 1999 – Indonesia's first since 1955.

B.J. Habibie's presidency from May 1998 to October 1999 is the shortest in the country's history. He was succeeded by Abdurrahman Wahid.

He was also the founder of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) and the Habibie Center, a research foundation for democracy.

The late president's body will be lying in repose at his home at Kuningan, South Jakarta. He is survived by two sons and six grandchildren.

The former president's family has yet to announce the funeral arrangements, but his body will be laid to rest in the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Pancoran, South Jakarta, where he will be buried next to his wife Hasri Ainun Habibie, who passed away in 2010.

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