"She worked hard and was very humble."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - In October 2010, many Indonesians were shocked to learn that Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih was suffering from lung cancer, and now they are mourning the death of the hard-working minister.

"Endang was one of the nation`s best daughters, a woman who was an inspiration to others and a symbol of strength, who kept on fighting until her last breath," said Linda Amalia Sari Gumelar, Women`s Empowerment and Child Protection Minister, on Wednesday after hearing about the demise of Endang.

"Mrs Endang was a strong woman," Linda said, adding that the health minister continued working hard and energetically despite her serious illness.

Born on February 1, 1955, Endang was diagnosed with lung cancer just a year after she was appointed as the health minister for the 2009-14 term.

Since then, the 57-year-old minister had undergone various medical treatments, including radiotherapy and cryosurgery, at Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital (RSCM) in Jakarta and overseas.

On Wednesday (May 2) at 11.41 a.m. local time, she passed away at RSCM after undergoing intensive treatment intensively over the past three weeks.

"The health minister passed away because of advanced-stage cancer. She was in critical condition yesterday," RSCM President Director Akmal Taher told the press at the hospital`s Kencana Pavilion.

Taher said Endang`s health had deteriorated since Tuesday (May 1) and she was being treated in the hospital's intensive-care unit when she passed away.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono offered his condolences to Reanny Mamahit, the husband of the deceased minister.

"Two minutes after Endang passed away, the head of state called Dr Ranny," said Julian Aldrin Pasha, a spokesman of the President.

"Endang`s husband told the President about her condition during the last few minutes of her life," he added.

Endang`s body was kept at the house of mourning at Pendidikan Street, Duren Sawit, East Jakarta until 7 p.m. local time. At 8 p.m. it was brought to the health ministry building where it was kept until Thursday morning.

The head of state and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono paid their last respects at the house of mourning in Duren Sawit on Wednesday evening.

Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfare Agung Laksono acted as the inspector in a ceremony to see off Endang`s body from the ministry building to San Diego cemetery.

The next day, President Yudhoyono led the funeral ceremony at the San Diego Hills Memorial Park, Karawang, West Java, on Thursday morning.

Appointed as the health minister in 2009, Endang resigned on April 26, 2012, on health grounds, to undergo lung cancer treatment.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono revealed the news about her resignation after visiting her at RSCM, where he was accompanied by Vice President Boediono, Minister for Women Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Amalia Sari, and Minister for Tourism and Creative Economy Mari Elka Pangestu, on April 26, 2012.

He said Endang had expressed a desire to resign from her ministerial post because her health condition hampered her ability to fulfil her duties as a minister.

"She told me that she wanted to resign and I was moved to hear it," the President told the press.

He accepted the resignation, stating that he respected Endang's wishes and was hopeful of her recovery.

The President said Endang had fulfilled her duties well, and whenever he visited places with her, he always saw her working hard. "She worked days and nights," he added.

President Yudhoyono has appointed Deputy Health Minister Ali Ghufron to temporarily fill the post left vacant by Endang. Presidential spokesman Julian Aldrin Pasha, in response to a press question, had said that the President had not mentioned about a replacement for the deceased health minister yet.

Endang is survived by her husband, two sons, and a daughter.

Ali Ghufron Mukti said Endang`s family members were present at the hospital at the time of her death, except for one of her children who was on her way back from Geneva.

Chairman of the Central Executive Board of Golkar Party Aburizal Bakrie recalled Endang as a humble and hard-working minister.

"She worked hard and was very humble. I was very impressed," Bakrie said.

East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) Governor Frans Lebu Raya shared Bakrie`s opinion, saying that Endang was a humble and low-profile minister.

"We have lost one of the best women in this republic. She was smart and humble. She was once posted as a doctor in NTT. The NTT people are sad about her demise," Lebu Raya told the press.

The governor recalled that Endang had visited NTT after being appointed as the health minister. She stayed for several days in Sikka District where she had worked as a young doctor years ago.

Before being appointed as the health minister, Endang had served as the head of the ministry`s Research and Development Centre for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research and Development.

She earned a bachelor`s degree in 1979 from the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Indonesia and continued her education at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, in the U.S., in 1992. She then did her doctorate at Harvard and graduated in 1997.

She had also worked in the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was in charge of infectious disease management.

Reporter: by Fardah
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2012