Dr Jitendra Nath Pande, an acclaimed medical specialist and former head of the Department of Medicine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, died at his residence on Saturday. He was 79.
He was serving as a consultant at a Delhi-based private hospital after retiring from the AIIMS. His wife is also currently hospitalised with the infection.
Dr Jitendra Nath Pande had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Dr Pande and his wife tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday with mild symptoms and had decided to remain in home isolation, said the AIIMS director, Dr Randeep Guleria.
But his wife was shifted to the AIIMS on Saturday.
'We were following up on him regularly and he said he was improving. Yesterday, after having his dinner, he went off to sleep and then passed away in his sleep possibly because of an acute cardiac event,' Dr Guleria said.
Dr Pande had comorbid conditions.
'Knowledge and humility can co-exist and Dr Pande was an epitome of that. He was an excellent human being and it is a great loss to the medical fraternity. The AIIMS family will miss him the most because he joined it as an MBBS student and retired as the head of the Department of Medicine,' Dr Guleria said.
'I have closely worked with him and knew him since my childhood as he was the student of my father,' he added.
After retirement in 2003, Dr Pande joined the Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research and worked there as a senior consultant in the Respiratory Medicine Department.
'He was a legendary physician who had taught many practising doctors at AIIMS and continued to mentor physicians even after joining this hospital. What was remarkable was that most difficult cases would come to him,' said the institute’s director, Dr. Abhishek Bhartia.
'I even spoke to him yesterday. He was under home care and seemed to be recovering.'
Dr. Sangita Reddy, joint managing director, Apollo Hospitals Group, and president of industry chamber FICCI, said in a tweet: 'Deeply saddened to hear that today. @covid19 claimed its most illustrious victim Dr JN Pande Director & Prof of Pulmonology @aiims_newdelhi. A stalwart of the medical world his work in pulmonology will continue to ensure better health for many. My Condolences to his family.'