KATHMANDU, Nov 20: The only son of CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has died of a heart attack on Sunday aged 36.
Prakash Dahal, a former Maoist combatant who also served as his father's personal assistant after the party entered mainstream politics, is survived by his two wives and two sons.
Dahal, who was found unconscious in bed at his residence in Lazimpat on Sunday morning, was rushed to the Thapathali-based Norvic hospital.
"Dahal had died three hours before he was brought to the hospital. He died of a sudden cardiac arrest," Dr JP Jaisawal of the hospital told reporters in a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
Dahal's death was not officially confirmed until 9.30 am upon the request of the family members. The hospital held a press conference at around 12.30 pm after the family members arrived at the hospital.
Dahal's father Prachanda, wife Beena Magar and elder sister Renu Dahal, who were outside Kathmandu campaigning for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections, had returned to Kathmandu hours after his death.
As the son of one of the most powerful politicians in the country, Dahal's life was always under strict public scrutiny.
Born as the youngest child of former Prime Minister Dahal and Sita Dahal on 31 May 1981 in Bhimsennagar of Chitwan, his childhood was normal until his father went underground to launch an insurgency against the state.
Dahal, who lived with his father throughout the civil war, and his siblings were forced to drop his studies. His teen years were spent with his father in the hinterlands of Nepal suffering the trails and tribulations of the insurgency.
He briefly served in the Maoist people's liberation army and always remained one of the most trusted lieutenants of his father.
Also as a personal secretary, Prakash had significant influence on his father and his decisions.
Dahal's personal life was not free from controversy. He got married thrice. His first marriage was with Prabha Bogati, the daughter of another Maoist leader Posta Bahadur Bogati. The marriage hardly lasted two years. Soon after his divorce with Bogati, Dahal married Srijana Pathak of Pokhara, and later with Beena Magar, a Maoist student leader.
As the news of Dahal's death broke, many received it with shock and disbelief. Leaders from across the political spectrum descended on Kathmandu to express their condolences. Some of the notable figures offering condolences to Dahal include President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Naya Shakti Nepal Coordinator Baburam Bhattarai. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, and Gagan Thapa, among others, offered their condolences through the social media.
Dahal's body was kept at the CPN (Maoist Center) headquarters in Parisdanda for a few hours to allow family members, friends and supporters to pay their last respects. Various leaders such as Madhav Kumar Nepal, Agni Sapkota, Anuradha Koirala, Pampha Bhusal, Narayankaji Shrestha, Barshaman Pun among others offered their tributes to the late Dahal.
He was cremated at Pashupathi Aryaghat according to the Hindu tradition. His father had lit the funeral pyre. Pushpa Kamal Dahal's eldest daughter Gyanu Dahal had died of breast cancer three years ago at the age of 40.