New Delhi, May 18: Padma Shri awardee and eminent cardiologist Dr K K Aggarwal, who gained more prominence in recent months by posting informative videos about COVID-19 on social media, has died of the same disease, a statement posted on his Twitter handle said.
Aggarwal, 62, who was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here and was on ventilator support since last week, died at 11.30 pm on Monday after a lengthy battle with COVID-19, according to the statement. The former Indian Medical Association (IMA) president is survived by wife Dr Veena Aggarwal, son Nilesh and daughter Naina.
Aggarwal was one of the first frontline workers to take the first dose of the anti-COVID vaccine in January, which he revealed during a live video broadcast from his car. The broadcast, however, was the subject of gossip because it was interrupted by his wife's call and their personal conversation was heard by the general public. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal described his death as a "setback for the whole nation".
"Passing away of Dr. KK Aggarwal is a setback for the whole nation. He acted all his life for the health rights of common people, especially poor, deprived and marginalized. A great human being. RIP! (sic)," he wrote on Twitter. A statement posted in the early hours of Tuesday on Aggarwal's Twitter handle said he wanted his life to be celebrated and not mourned.
"Even during the pandemic, he made constant efforts to educate the masses and was able to reach out to 100 million people through numerous videos and educational programmes and saved countless lives," the statement read. Aggarwal regularly posted videos raising awareness about the deadly virus on his Twitter handle. His team at the Heart Care Foundation of India kept uploading videos about COVID-19 even while he was hospitalised.
He had received the Padma Shri, the country's fourth-highest civilian honour, in 2010. He was also honoured with the Dr B C Roy Award. Aggarwal's name was mentioned in the Limca Book of Records for training the maximum number of people in the lifesaving technique of hands-only CPR at one go. Aggarwal was born in Delhi on September 5, 1958.
He completed his MBBS from MGIMS, Sevagram under the Nagpur University, where he was adjudged the best graduate in 1979. The IMA said his demise was "an unexpected and tragic loss".
"Dr. K. K. Aggarwal was a true legend and iconic figure in mass education and awareness. He served millions of lives and his services proved a guiding torch to all of us even during the pandemic... IMA is poorer by the loss," it said in a tweet. PTI