Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has passed away at the age of 72.
It is understood that he was recently warded at the Sarawak General Hospital Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan.
Adenan took over the post of Sarawak chief minister from his predecessor, Abdul Taib Mahmud, in February 2014.
Although it is still unclear what the cause of death was, Adenan had spoken of his close shave with death due to a heart ailment four years ago.
“Three years ago I was very sick. I was at the National Heart Institute (IJN in Kuala Lumpur) and in Singapore. And there was a time I thought I was going. I called all my relatives, my children and grandchildren,” he said in an interview with Bernama prior to the Sarawak state election last year.
A popular leader, Adenan led BN to a sweeping victory in the last Sarawak state election, winning 72 state seats.
Leading BN for the first time in a state election, Adenan had asked voters to give him five more years to realise his vision for the state.
Messages of condolences are already flooding Twitter from both sides of the political divide, among them, from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Innalillahiwainnailaihirajiun. Terima berita sedih TS Adenan Satem telah pulang ke rahmatullah. Saya akan ke Sarawak utk ziarah jenazah.— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) January 11, 2017
Jasa Allahyarham kpd Srwk amat besar, Msia kehilangan seorang pemimpin berwibawa. Takziah kpd keluarga, moga roh dicucuri rahmat. Al-Fatihah— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) January 11, 2017
Takziah kepada Puan Sri Jamilah & keluarga & rakyat negeri Sarawak atas kembalinya ke rahmatullah Ketua Menteri TS Adenan Satem. Al Fatihah.— Khairy Jamaluddin (@Khairykj) January 11, 2017
Adenan made his political debut in 1979 when he contested the Muara Tuang state seat in a by-election and defeated Parti Rakyat Jati Sarawak (Pajar) candidate Razali Sabang by a majority of 2,797 votes.
He retained the seat in the next six state elections before contesting the Batang Sadong seat in the 11th parliamentary elections, beating PAS candidate Adam Ahid with a 9,371-vote majority.
Following his victory in the parliamentary election, Adenan was appointed federal natural resources and environment minister in 2004.
He returned to the Sarawak political scene to contest in the state election in 2006 and won the Tanjung Datu seat.
Adenan was made the special advisor to the chief minister in 2010 before being appointed as the state minister of special functions in 2011 after successfully retaining his Tanjung Datu seat in a state election in that year.
Prior to his involvement in politics, Adenan also had a taste of the world of journalism when he joined a local newspaper, the Sarawak Tribune, before he decided to pursue law at the University of Adelaide in Australia.