Indonesia's former president BJ Habibie dies at 83

Indonesians bury former president Habibie at state funeral

Indonesia will observe a national mourning period of three days.

His unpopular presidency was the shortest in modern Indonesia's history, but was transformative.

Habibie's tenure as president only lasted for a little more than a year before his retirement from politics, but was marked by such democratic reforms as allowing the creation of political parties as well as an independence referendum for East Timor.

Islamic prayers have been explained, and as his physique was reduced, mourners tossed flower petals into his grave, along with that of his spouse of 48 decades, Hasri Ainun Habibie, a healthcare health practitioner who died in 2010.

Thousands of Indonesians gathered in Jakarta Thursday to bid their final goodbyes to former President B.J. Habibie.

Habibie's son, Thareq Kemal Habibie, said Indonesia's third president died Wednesday at Jakarta's Gatot Subroto army hospital, where he had been undergoing treatment for heart problems since September 1. The East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence, which sparked a wave of deadly violence carried out by pro-Indonesian militias.

Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean said on Facebook that he was "deeply saddened" by Habibie's passing while on his way to Jakarta for a working visit.

It ended after only 16 months in October 1999 when he withdrew from contention in presidential elections.

Indonesia Habibie death
Former Indonesian president Habibie dies

In January 1999, Habibie said East Timor could have independence if its people rejected autonomy within Indonesia.

Mahathir Mohamad, prime minister of neighbouring Malaysia, posted his condolences on Twitter and said the death of Habibie was a "big loss".

Habibie became the science and technology minister and applied his proximity to Suharto to go after pet initiatives, together with a state aircraft maker, a steel refinery and various protection-similar industries.

Though he was a product of Suharto's "New Order" administration, which gave a strong political role to the military and stifled opponents, Habibie oversaw democratic reforms to free political prisoners and allow press freedom.

Despite his reforms, Habibie was unable to master the political tumult unleashed by the student uprising.

Born on June 25, 1936, in the South Sulawesi town of Parepare, Habibie was the fourth of eight siblings. "BJ Habibie spoke from confidence as well as conscience".

The late president is survived by his two sons.

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