VIDEO l 1.35 min
Private investigator P Balasubramaniam passed away in Rawang this afternoon, apparently from a heart attack.
He checked out of the Sime Darby Medical Centre on Tuesday, but suffered breathing difficulties when having lunch at his home in Rawang about 1.40pm.
"After a medical check-up in Subang Jaya (this morning), Bala came back like normal. Then after lunch, he had something like hiccups, and then he collapsed.
"We rushed him to a clinic, the ambulance came, but the doctors said he had passed way," said Bala's friend Ganeson Suppiah, who added that he was with Bala at that time.
According to Ganeson, the doctors said Bala was already dead by the time he was taken to the clinic, and efforts to resuscitate him proved futile.
An ambulance from Sungai Buloh Hospital, that had been called, arrived soon afterwards.
"He was due to have a heart bypass operation in about three weeks," lawyer and Subang parliamentarian R Sivarasa told Malaysiakini while on his way to the hospital.
Last month Balasubramaniam suffered a minor heart attack while speaking at a Pakatan Rakyat ceramah in Kota Bharu.
Following a medical check-up on his return to Kuala Lumpur, he was warded for 10 days at the Sime Darby Medical Centre in Subang Jaya.
'Okay with man upstairs'
The 53-year-old gave his last interview to Malaysiakini on Monday.
In that interview, believed to be his last with any media, the late Balasubramaniam appeared to be in high spirits, adamant that he would still continue to help Pakatan in its election campaign despite his heart condition, calling it "a small thing".
Appearing slightly pale when met at the cardiac ward of the Sime Darby hospital five days ago, Balasubramaniam flashed a smile and said he was determined to go back on the GE campaign circuit once he recovered.
He joked that he was okay with "the man upstairs" and that the spirit of Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu would not want him to die.
Balasubramaniam said he was still needed to expose the truth about his involvement with and knowledge of those whom he believed were responsible for her murder.
In the interview, Balasubramaniam urged Malaysians to vote for a change of government as this is the only way that justice could be found for Altantuya and the two police officers who he believed were wrongly blamed for her death.
He added that his dramatic return to Malaysia was a blessing as he otherwise would not have discovered his heart condition.
"This is good. If I didn't come back for the campaign, I might not have known (about my heart condition).
"I might have stayed in India. I might have died silently."
Deepak pays last respect
Since this afternoon, friends, neighbours and media representatives have gathered at Balasubramaniam's house in Rawang.
They gathered under a tent - which had been erected in front of his house - as a short spate of rain fell.
Well-connected carpet trader Deepak Jaikishan was also spotted paying his respects, wiping his eyes as he quietly left.
The late Balasubramaniam's still body was placed in the living room, draped under a white funeral cloth, a wreath of flowers placed on his chest.
His wife, Selvi, and three children - two sons and one daughter - kept vigil, sitting around the body with close friends and family members.
Menaga, his 16-year-old daughter, was seen sitting at the late Balasubramaniam's body holding on to his feet.
Once in a while the wailing voice of his wife can be heard drifting from inside the house to the courtyard beyond.
Amongst those present to pay their respects included Subang MP R Sivarasa and fellow leader PKR Badrul Hisham, better known as Chegu Bard.
According to a close family friend, at the moment, the family is preparing to send Balasubramaniam's remains to a hospital for a post-mortem.
Details are still being arranged by the family members and Sivarasa.
At 5.12pm, a funeral van arrived at the house to take away Bala's remains to the Sungai Buloh Hospital, where an autopsy has been arranged.
Balasubramaniam's lawyer Americk Sidhu was shocked by the death.
"My dear friend, whom I was very proud of for his bravery in the face of oppression and his gallant fight for justice, has just died. May his beautiful soul rest in peace forever more," he said.
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