Fernandes was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Recently, he contracted swine flu, they said.
Fernandes was India's defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Saddened by his passing away, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted:
George Sahab represented the best of India’s political leadership.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 29, 2019
Frank and fearless, forthright and farsighted, he made a valuable contribution to our country. He was among the most effective voices for the rights of the poor and marginalised.
Saddened by his passing away.
When we think of Mr. George Fernandes, we remember most notably the fiery trade union leader who fought for justice, the leader who could humble the mightiest of politicians at the hustings, a visionary Railway Minister and a great Defence Minister who made India safe and strong.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 29, 2019
During his long years in public life, George Sahab never deviated from his political ideology. He resisted the Emergency tooth and nail. His simplicity and humility were noteworthy. My thoughts are with his family, friends and lakhs of people grieving. May his soul rest in peace.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 29, 2019
President Ram Nath Kovind also took to Twitter saying:
Distressed to learn of the passing of Shri George Fernandes, who served India in many capacities, including as Defence Minister. He epitomised simple living and high thinking. And was a champion of democracy, during the Emergency and beyond. We will all miss him #PresidentKovind— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) January 29, 2019
"I'm sorry to hear about the passing away of former Parliamentarian & Union Minister, George Fernandes Ji. My condolences to his family and friends in this time of grief," Gandhi said in a Facebook post.
Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also condoled the demise of the former minister
"My condolences on the passing away of former Union Minister, Sh George Fernandes. May his soul rest in peace," he tweeted.
My condolences on the passing away of former Union Minister, Sh George Fernandes.— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) January 29, 2019
May his soul rest in peace.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said he was a much admired trade union leader.
Very saddened at the passing away of former Defence Minister and much admired trade unionist, George Fernandes Ji. I have known him for decades. My condolences to his family and admirers— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) January 29, 2019