India's ex-finance minister Arun Jaitley dies at 66

Updated August 24, 2019

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In this Oct 7, 2016 file photo, India's then finance minister Arun Jaitley speaks during a panel discussion at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings at IMF headquarters in Washington. — AP/File
In this Oct 7, 2016 file photo, India's then finance minister Arun Jaitley speaks during a panel discussion at the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings at IMF headquarters in Washington. — AP/File

Arun Jaitley, India's former finance minister and a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first-term cabinet, has died. He was 66.

A statement by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences announced Jaitley's death on Saturday. He was admitted to a New Delhi hospital two weeks ago after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness.

Jaitley held the finance portfolio in Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government from 2014 through this year but chose not to run for re-election in May's polls because of poor health.

Jaitley was diabetic and had bariatric weight-loss surgery in 2014, received a kidney transplant in 2018 and travelled to the United States last January for unspecified medical care.

He got involved in politics as a student leader in the 1970s.