'Dr. Gupta was a man of huge caliber, his contribution to the sport of Badminton has been commendable.'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes that poured in for Badminton Association of India president Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta, who passed away in Lucknow after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday.
"Saddened by the demise of former MP & Union Minister, Shri Akhilesh Das. His active contribution to public life will be remembered. RIP," the Prime Minister tweeted.
Sports Minister Vijay Goel also took to Twitter to express his condolences.
"Shocked by the sudden demise of @BAI_Media President Akhilesh Das,was a great administrator.Prayers & condolences for his friends and family," Goel tweeted.
Das Gupta was serving as the vice-president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and was also the president of Uttar Pradesh Olympic Association.
Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General, IOA, said: "It is an extremely saddening day for us. On behalf of IOA family I send out my condolences to his family; may God be with them during this extremely difficult time.
"Dr. Gupta was a man of huge caliber, his contribution to the sport of Badminton has been commendable. While serving as the vice president of the IOA, he contributed towards the growth of sports in our country."
Top shuttlers Saina Nehwal and Jwala Gutta also expressed their deep sorrow.
"Really shocking news ??it's just unbelievable..our beloved president sir @BAI_Media is no more .. may his soul Rest in peace," tweeted London Olympics bronze-medallist Saina.
"My heartfelt condolences to the family of our badminton president who passed away... #akhileshdasgupta #RIP," Jwala said.
Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap also took to twitter, saying: "Shocked and saddened! My heartfelt condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace. Our beloved president @Dr_akhilesh_das."
Das Gupta (56) had suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to the Lari hospital where he died in the wee hours. He is survived by his wife, daughter and son.
He had become BAI president after the arrest of former chief V K Verma over corruption charges in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
He was unanimously re-elected for a four-year term in 2014. Last year, he was also elected the vice-president of the Badminton Asia Confederation (BAC) for a four-year term.
Under his tenure, India bagged the rights to host marquee BWF events like the 2014 Thomas/Uber Cup and the Super Series, while Syed Modi international was upgraded to a Grand Prix gold status.
He was also instrumental in launching and organising the the cash-rich Indian Badminton League in August 2013, which was later rechristened to Premier Badminton League in 2015.
Das Gupta was also a Rajya Sabha member and was Minister for Steels in the Congress government.
"We are deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden demise of our honorable President Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta. May his soul rest in peace," BAI tweeted from its officials handle.
Also offering condolences was Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh.
"Dr. Gupta's passing is a tremendous loss for Indian sport. His contribution to the Badminton Federation will always be remembered. May his soul rest in peace," he said.
Image: Dr Akhilesh Das Gupta
Photograph courtesy: Badminton Association of India/Facebook