Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other top leaders cutting across party lines on Wednesday paid homage to former Union minister and Indian Union Muslim League MP E Ahamed, who passed away early morning.

I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar, CPI leader D Raja, TMC leader Saugata Roy were also among those who visited the residence of the departed leader here.

The Vice-President recalled his long association with Ahamed. "He was an eminent personality. He is somebody I have known for a quarter of a century and his passing away is a great loss," said Ansari.

Many leaders from Kerala like A K Antony, Vyalar Ravi and Ramesh Chennithala also paid their respects.

"He was a symbol of secularism and Keralites can't forget his contribution as the Minister of State for Railways and Minister of State for External Affairs and how he used to raise important issues related to minorities and backward classes," said Antony.

Ahamed was an MP from Kerala's Mallapuram and his body has been taken for last rites in Kannur later on Wednesday.

The 78-year-old passed away in the wee hours at RML Hospital here. He suffered a cardiac arrest during the President's address to the joint sitting of Parliament on Tuesday.