WASHINGTON: State Department spokesperson John Kirby, in his opening note ahead of daily press briefing in Washington, has said that the government and people of United States are deeply saddened on the sad demise of Pakistani philanthropist and one of the world’s greatest humanitarians, Abdul Sattar Edhi, on the July 8th. He said that Edhi’s compassion, dignity, and humility serve as an example to us all adding that he led a life dedicated to serving others regardless of religion, class, nationality, or ethnicity. We offer our deepest condolences to his wife and his children, the millions that he personally touched, and of course to the people of Pakistan on this sad occasion. Abdul Sattar Edhi was born on January 1, 1928 in Bantva in the Gujarat, India. He was a prominent Pakistani philanthropist, social activist, and humanitarian. He was the founder and head of the Edhi Foundation and ran the organisation for six decades. He was considered as Pakistan’s “most respected” and legendary figure. When he was 11 years of age, his mother became paralysed from a stroke and she died when Edhi was 19 years of age. His personal experiences and care for his mother during her illness; caused him to develop a system of services for old, mentally ill and challenged people. The partition of the subcontinent led Edhi and his family to migrate to Pakistan in 1947. He then shifted to Karachi to work in a market at a wholesale shop. He initially started as a peddler, and later became a commission agent selling cloth in the wholesale market in Karachi. After a few years, he established a free dispensary with the help from his community. Edhi resolved to dedicate his life to aiding the poor, and over the next 60 years, he single-handedly changed the face of welfare in Pakistan. To this day, the Edhi Foundation continues to grow in both size and service, and is currently the largest welfare organisation in Pakistan. Since its inception, the Edhi Foundation has rescued over 20,000 abandoned infants, rehabilitated over 50,000 orphans and has trained over 40,000 nurses. It also runs more than 330 welfare centres in rural and urban Pakistan which operate as food kitchens, rehabilitation homes, shelters for abandoned women and children and clinics for the mentally handicapped. The Edhi Foundation runs the world’s largest ambulance service and offers 24-hour emergency services. It also operates free nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, women’s shelters, and rehabilitation centres for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals. It has run relief operations in Africa, Middle East, the Caucasus region, Eastern Europe and United States where it provided aid following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His son Faisal Edhi, wife Bilquis Edhi and daughters managed the daily operations of the organisation during his ill health. Together with his wife, Bilquis Edhi, he received the 1986 Ramon Magsaysay Award for public service. He was also the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize and the Balzan Prize. The Institute of Business Administration Pakistan conferred a honoris causa degree of Doctor of Social Service Management for his services in 2006 whereas Edhi was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bedfordshire in September 2010. Edhi also received the Nishan-e-Imtiaz from the government of Pakistan and had been recommended for a Nobel Peace prize in 1989.