Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday expressed grief over the death of senior leader and former Union Minister Gurudas Kamat, saying his demise was a massive blow to the party.

“The sudden passing away of senior leader Gurudas Kamatji, is a massive blow to the Congress family. Gurudasji helped build the Congress party in Mumbai and was greatly respected and admired by all. My condolences to his family in their time of grief. May his soul rest in peace,” Gandhi, who is in Germany, said in a tweet.

Kamat died at a private hospital in New Delhi following a massive heart attack at the age of 63. Kamat was taken to Primus Hospital in Chanakyapuri around 7 am, after he complained of breathlessness, but he died on the way.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi visited the hospital and paid her last respects to the departed leader.

He was alone at his Vasant Enclave private residence at the time. His family rushed from Mumbai to take the body back.

His sudden death sent shock waves in the Congress, with former president Pranab Mukherjee expressing shock over his untimely demise.

“Shocked and pained at the sudden and untimely demise of Shri Gurudas Kamat. A colleague in the government and the party for many years, his passing away at such young age is tragic,” Mukherjee said in a tweet.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala also expressed grief over the death of the former union minister.

“Shocked and deeply anguished to learn about the sudden demise of Senior Congress Leader Gurudas Kamatji. No words are enough to describe the sense of loss. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and followers. I pray for the departed soul,” Surjewala said in a tweet.

Kamat wished people “Eid Mubarak” on Twitter last night. His last tweet was at 11.44 pm wishing happiness on the occasion of Eid-Al-Adha.

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Home minister Rajnath Singh also reacted to the death on Twitter. “Anguished by the sudden demise of former Union minister and senior Congress leader Shri Gurudas Kamat. He was a seasoned leader who had also served the nation as the MoS in the MHA. My thoughts are with his family and supporters,” he said on Twitter.

A five-time member of Parliament from the Mumbai and was also the president of the NSUI from 1976 to 1980.

He was the Union minister of state for home affairs with the additional charge of communications and information technology from 2009 to 2011. In July 2011, he resigned as the minister.

He was also a former president of the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee.

(With agency inputs)