Former Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj dies age 67

Sushma Swaraj, India's former foreign minister and a leading female figure in the ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, died Tuesday at 67.

The Press Trust of India reported that Swaraj died of a heart attack after being taken to a hospital in New Delhi.

Read more: How PM Modi changed the face of Indian foreign policy

In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised her work as foreign minister and mourned what he called a "personal loss."

"A glorious chapter in Indian politics comes to an end," Modi wrote. "India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor."

A former Supreme Court lawyer, Swaraj had previously served as health minister, minister of information and parliamentary affairs minister.

Swaraj served as foreign minister in Modi's first cabinet from 2014 until May of this year. She was replaced by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after deciding not to contest elections due to health concerns. In December 2016, she successfully underwent a kidney transplant operation.

Opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi described Swaraj as "an extraordinary political leader" who established friendships across party lines during her time in parliament.

Swaraj was an active presence on social media, often engaging directly with Indians abroad. In her final tweet, she thanked Modi for abolishing Kashmir's autonomous status, saying she was "was waiting to see this day in my lifetime."

cw/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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