Kulsoom Nawaz, the wife of Pakistan's ousted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has died in London.
The three-time former first lady was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma in August a year ago and had been since then in London where she underwent multiple surgeries.
The father and daughter left her bedside to return to Pakistan to rally their followers ahead of July 25 elections, which their party lost to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf. On Monday night, she was placed on life support after her condition deteriorated. She married Nawaz Sharif in April 1971. "Whatever the legal facilitation is available (for Nawaz Sharif and Maryam), we have conveyed to them (the family)", he said.
He said the former prime minister and his daughter would be freed for 12 hours on the day of the funeral and burial, which is likely to take place in three to four days after the body is flown back home from London.
"She was a fearless lady", Siddiq-ul-Farouq, a stalwart party loyalist, told AFP, describing her as well-educated and dignified.
Kulsoom died Tuesday in London after a protracted battle with throat cancer. She was diagnosed with lymphoma past year. Sharif was eventually allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2007.
But she was not sworn in as she was already overseas for cancer treatment.
The newly-elected Khan, a former cricket hero who had campaigned against the Sharifs for his entire 22-year-long political career, sent his condolences Tuesday. He also directed the Pakistan High Commission in London to assist in the provision of all necessary facilities to the heirs of the deceased.
Bilawal remarked that Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was a very courageous woman.
Shortly after the news broke on media, condolence messages began pouring in.
The news comes just weeks after Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan with daughter Maryam Nawaz before being arrested on corruption charges.
"Her death is a huge loss and I am in shock", he stated.
Pakistan People Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and former president Asif Ali Zardari also condoled with the Sharif family.