Abdurrahman Wahid popularly known as 'Gus Dur' died on Wednesday, Dec 30 2009.

JAKARTA – Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid died in hospital on Wednesday aged 69, after a long battle with illness, a party official said.

Wahid was Indonesia’s fourth president, coming to power in 1999 after the country’s first general elections following the fall of military strongman Suharto in 1998.

Popularly known as Gus Dur, he was practically blind, diabetic and had
suffered strokes.

“Gus Dur just passed away,” said Lukman Edy from Wahid’s National Awakening Party.

Local television reported that the cause of death was heart failure but this had not been confirmed.

A moderate religious scholar, Wahid was criticised in office for his erratic leadership style and was sacked by the national assembly in 2001 amid unproven allegations of corruption and incompetence.

Wahid defeated Megawati Sukarnoputri to scoop the presidency in a parliamentary vote, even though her Democratic Party of Struggle put in the strongest showing in a general election earlier in 1999.

She replaced him after his tumultuous dismissal by lawmakers.

Indonesia held its first direct presidential elections in 2004, which were won by the incumbent Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. – AFP