Arun Jaitley, India’s former finance minister and a key member of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first-term cabinet, has died. He was 66. Jaitley, 66, a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), stepped down as finance minister in January due to ill health, just months before elections that returned Modi’s Hindu nationalists to power. “With the demise of Arun Jaitley Ji, I have lost a valued friend, whom I have had the honor of knowing for decades,” Modi said on Twitter. “His insight on issues and nuanced understanding of matters had very few parallels.”Jaitley was admitted to All India Institute Medical Sciences in New Delhi on Aug. 9. A diabetic, his health had worsened after he underwent a kidney transplant in May last year. He also had to skip the presentation of the interim budget in February when he was in hospital in the United States for cancer treatment.The lawyer-turned-politician also had triple heart bypass surgery when he was 52. Jaitley’s urbane and articulate manner helped him win friends across party lines and industry.A statement by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences announced Jaitley’s death on Saturday. He was admitted to a New Delhi hospital two weeks ago after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness.Jaitley held the finance portfolio in Modi’s Hindu nationalist-led government from 2014 through this year but chose not to run for re-election in May’s polls because of poor health.Jaitley was diabetic and had bariatric weight-loss surgery in 2014, received a kidney transplant in 2018 and travelled to the United States last January for unspecified medical care.