Indian Hindu holy man Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba (86), considered a living god by millions of followers worldwide, died Sunday in a hospital near his southern Indian ashram, doctors said. The saffron dressed Sathya Sai Baba had a huge following with ashrams in more than 126 countries around the world. The holy man was never married and has no children. Born on November 23, 1926, in Puttaparti, the guru was first named Sathyanarayana Raju.
Sai Baba had spent more than 3 weeks on breathing support and dialysis while struggling with multiple-organ failure at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, near his ashram in Puttaparti village in Andhra Pradesh state. He died Sunday morning, hospital director Dr.A.N.Safaya said.
Devotees grieve on hearing the news of the holy man Sathya Sai Baba's death in Puttaparti on April 24, 2011. Women selling marigold garlands broke down in tears outside ashram when they hears the sad news.
Followers gathered to mourn in small groups in alleys and streets surrounding the ashram, while some tried entering the temple complex where the holy man's body will be brought to lie in state until Tuesday. Hundreds of thousands of devotees are expected in Puttaparti for Sathya Sai Baba's funeral.