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Abdurrahman Wahid, Indonesia's 4th President, Dead at 69

Gus Dur Loved and Respected for his Tireless Defense Democracy and Religious Tolerance.

(1/1/2010) Indonesia’s 4th President, Abdurrahman Wahid, more popularly known as “Gus Dur,” died on Wednesday evening, December 30, 2009, at Jakarta's Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital at the age of 69. The late President and champion of religious and cultural tolerance had been suffering from kidney failure and diabetes.

Wahid's condition declined rapidly starting from at mid-day on Wednesday, causing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to interrupt his schedule to rush to Gus Dur's bedside at the moment of death.

Controversial for what were seen as his sometime contrarian stands, Gus Dur will be remembered as uncompromisingly committed to democracy and Indonesia's acceptance of an inclusive form of government providing opportunity and protection to every political, racial and religious grouping. As a mark of both the man and the esteem in which he was held, many of those interviewed on local television stations following his death, including some who had vigorously opposed Gus Dur during his lifetime, were reduced to tears when asked to comment on his passing.

Gus Dur came to power as President in 1999, a post he held for less than 2 years before being replaced by Megawati Soekarnoputra, who served out the remainder of his term.

Gus Dur, whose funeral included official Presidential ceremonial rites, was buried in a simple graveyard in Jombang, East Java.

"All religions insist on peace. From this we might think that the religious struggle for peace is simple ... but it is not. The deep problem is that people use religion wrongly in pursuit of victory and triumph. This sad fact then leads to conflict with people who have different beliefs."

Abdurrahman Wahid - 1940 – 2009