Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed died at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi on Thursday morning. He was 79.
The Mufti's daughter and the president of his Peoples Democratic Party, Mehbooba Sayeed, 56, is expected to take over as the first woman chief minister of the state, sources said. The PDP rules Jammu and Kashmir in partnership with the BJP.
Mehbooba Sayeed arrived at AIIMS a short while ago. Vice President Hamid Ansari is at the hospital and union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too visited.
Many other political leaders are expected to pay their respects at AIIMS, before the Mufti's body is flown back to state capital Srinagar today. Last rites are expected to be performed in his ancestral village in south Kashmir.
Mr. Sayeed had been in hospital for two weeks and was being treated for a lung infection. He was put on ventilator support yesterday after his condition worsened.
President Pranab Mukjerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered their condolences.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who heads the main opposition party in the state, visited AIIMS this morning. He also tweeted:
My heart felt sympathies to Mrs Syed, Mehbooba & the entire family in this most difficult of times. My & my family's prayers are with them.
- Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) January 7, 2016
"Muftiji ws a visionary leader dedicated entire life 2 a united strong J&K n India. His demise at a crucial juncture s saddening. Condolences (sic)," said the BJP's Ram Madhav, who represented his party in knitting together the Jammu and Kashmir alliance.
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the patron of PDP, took oath as chief minister on March 1 last year, after weeks of negotiations with the BJP, an ideological opposite. It was his second stint as chief minister. He had held the post between 2002 and 2005, as an ally of the Congress.
Mr Sayeed was part of the Congress for many years before he broke away in 1999 to launch his party along with his daughter.