India's ex-Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dies at 66

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2016, file photo, India's then finance minister Arun Jaitley briefs the media on the government's decision to withdraw the highest-denomination currency notes overnight, in New Delhi, India. Jaitley, India’s former finance minister and a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first term in office, has died in a New Delhi hospital. He was 66. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File)

Arun Jaitley, India's former finance minister and a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first-term Cabinet, has died

NEW DELHI — Arun Jaitley, India's former finance minister and a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first-term Cabinet, has died. He was 66.

A statement by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences announced Jaitley's death on Saturday. He was admitted to a New Delhi hospital two weeks ago after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness.

Jaitley held the finance portfolio in Modi's Hindu nationalist-led government from 2014 through this year but chose not to run for reelection in May's polls because of poor health.

Jaitley was diabetic and had bariatric — weight-loss surgery — in 2014, received a kidney transplant in 2018 and traveled to the United States last January for unspecified medical care.

He got involved in politics as a student leader in the 1970s.

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