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Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs passes away

By Terence

Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Balaji Sadasivan, passed away early on Monday morning after a battle with colon cancer. He was 55.

News of his death was broken by Foreign Minister George Yeo on Twitter and Facebook, who said he ”mourns the passing away of dear friend and colleague Dr Balaji Sadasivan”.

Dr Sadasivan, a former neurosurgeon from Gleneagles Hospital, had undergone surgery two years ago to remove a cancerous tumour from his colon.

In 2001, he left Gleneagles Hospital to enter politics as a candidate under the People’s Action Party (PAP), and was elected MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC and was also appointed the Minister of State for Health and Environment.

He also served as Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Information, Communications and the Arts between May 2006 and March this year.

From April onwards, his responsibilities were kept to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Dr Balaji leaves behind his wife and two children.

Singaporeans were quick to offer their condolences to the late doctor’s family.

Satwant Singh, a lawyer in his 40s said, “I am saddened to hear the demise of Mr. Balaji. I had met him several times and found him a wonderful and warm person. He made the effort to spend some time talking with me and also to hear my views on topics that we discussed and he always welcomed different perspective. He will not only be missed by his loved ones and myself but all those who knew him.”

Already, over 20 have left comments on Minister Yeo’s Facebook page.

Mahes Mohanavelu said: “Met him (Dr Sadasivan) once when he was GOH (Guest-of-Honour) for a company event. He was the most gentle and down to earth man I had ever seen. God bless his soul, it’s definitely a heavy loss to us all.”

Another user, Walter Lim, said, ”We are indeed sad to hear of this great loss, especially since Dr Balaji was the founding chairman of the steering committee for the National Art Gallery Singapore. His wife was also an ardent volunteer with NHB’s museums. Our condolences will be with his loved ones.”

A search on micro-blogging site Twitter also saw many citizens and government departments mourning the death of the late Minister of State.

Among them, the Ministry of Health (@sporeMOH), which tweeted, “Deepest condolences to family and loved ones of SMS MFA Dr Balaji Sadasivan from all at MOH. He’ll be greatly missed.”

By Ewen Boey – September 27th, 2010

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