Well-wishes pour in for S R Nathan
Former president S R Nathan is a fighter, Emeritus Senior Minister (ESM) Goh Chok Tong told reporters yesterday.
He had just paid a visit to Mr Nathan, who was in the intensive care unit at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) after suffering a stroke early yesterday morning.
A statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that Mr Nathan was in a critical condition.
Mr Goh said the former president was resting comfortably and the doctor who was with Mr Nathan had said his vital signs were stable.
WELL-WISHERS: Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong (above, speaking to the media) and former cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan were among those who visited Mr S R Nathan at the Singapore General Hospital yesterday. PHOTOS: ISKANDAR ROSSALI
But it was too early to say how he would progress, Mr Goh added.
Mr Nathan had celebrated his 92nd birthday early last month.
In April last year, he suffered a stroke and was warded at SGH for almost three weeks before he was discharged.
Mr Goh, who is MP for Marine Parade, said: "(I wish) him a smooth recovery. He's a fighter and he's gone through this many times. He's gone through so many medical events in the last few years, and I just wish him all the best.
"I (last) met him (Mr Nathan) about three or four months ago, I visited him at his home as he is my distinguished resident in Joo Chiat."
Yesterday, ministers such as Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also visited Mr Nathan.
DPM Teo is Acting PM as PM Lee Hsien Loong left yesterday for the US on an official visit at the invitation of President Barack Obama.
PM Lee also posted his well-wishes to Mr Nathan on Facebook last night while he was still on his way to Washington DC.
Former ministers and other Singapore luminaries also visited Mr Nathan, who is Singapore's sixth and longest-serving president.
Among them were former Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi, former Senior Minister of State Zainul Abidin Rasheed and Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon..
There was an outpouring of well-wishes online for Mr Nathan, who served two six-year terms as head of state from 1999 to 2011.
Before that, Mr Nathan had been ambassador to the US and Malaysia.
He also held numerous positions in the civil service, including being director of the Security and Intelligence Division in the Ministry of Defence.
While he was president, Mr Nathan started the President's Challenge which has raised more than $160 million for charity.
Mr Nathan and his wife, former teacher Urmila Nandey, have two children - a son and a daughter - and three grandchildren.
Yesterday evening, former cabinet minister S. Dhanabalan and his wife were also at the hospital.
Speaking to reporters after seeing Mr Nathan in his ward upstairs, he said he last spoke to him over the phone two weeks ago and he had been well then.
He added that Mr Nathan was resting well and in deep sleep when he had visited minutes earlier.
IN THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
"On my way to Washington DC. Saddened to learn while flying about Mr S R Nathan's stroke and his grave condition. Have been in touch with his family...
"We have him in our thoughts and prayers."
President Tony Tan Keng Yam
"Mary (Mrs Tan) and I visited former president Nathan this afternoon at the hospital. Saw Mr Nathan and spoke with his family. We will continue to keep Mr Nathan in our prayers."
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean
"Visited former president Mr Nathan this afternoon. Our thoughts and prayers, including those of PM Lee and Mrs Lee who are currently in the US, are with Mr Nathan, Mrs Nathan and the family."
Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen
"I visited former president Nathan and his family at SGH this afternoon. I told his family members that Mr Nathan had written to me just last week. In his letter, he shared how he had a stroke a year ago and recovered. He then added pensively that he had "soldiered on and hoped to stay active for another year, before I call it a day".
"What a remarkable man, I thought to myself. It could not be easy, but even at this age and with declining health, Mr Nathan still wanted to contribute and make a difference in the lives of others, at least for another year.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Nathan and his family."
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong
"Our servant leader, our mentor, our president - keeping Mr S R Nathan in our thoughts and prayers, and wishing him a speedy recovery."
Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin
"I am sad to hear that former president S R Nathan suffered a stroke this morning... Mr S R Nathan has done a lot for Singapore as a civil servant par excellence, holding key positions in security, intelligence and foreign affairs, and as a people's president.
We pray for your speedy recovery, Sir!"