Jakarta – Former Indonesian first lady Kristiani Herrawati Yudhoyono passed away on Saturday at the National University Hospital in Singapore, where she had been receiving treatment for late-stage blood cancer in the past four months. She was 66 years old.
Affectionately known as Ibu Ani (Mother Ani), she is survived by her husband, Indonesia's sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, her two children, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono, and two grandchildren.
A close friend of the family, Terawan, a medical doctor who has been accompanying Ani and Susilo in Singapore, confirmed that Ani passed away this morning at 11.50 a.m. local time.
Ani is the eldest daughter of Sarwo Edhie Wibowo, a former special forces commander who led the communist purge in 1965-1966 that paved the way for Suharto's dictatorship, but who was later sidelined by the regime he helped raise.
After Indonesia's Reformasi, Ani became a formidable companion for Yudhoyono throughout his rapid political ascendancy, which saw him become the first directly elected Indonesian president in 2004.
Ani's love of photography had made her an unlikely social media star. She had 6.4 million Instagram followers at the time of her death.
On her Instagram, Indonesians are allowed an intimate peek at life inside the State Palace during her husband's 10-year presidency.
Ani's Instagram account has already received an outpour of condolences from her fans. "May Ibu Ani rest in peace beside Allah," one of her followers wrote.
The Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs has extended the country's condolences.
"The Singapore Government extends its deepest condolences to Bapak Yudhoyono and family, and to the people of Indonesia, in this time of mourning," the ministry said in a statement.
Ani's in-law Hatta Rajasa, the former coordinating minister of economic affairs, said her body will be moved from the hospital to the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore today before being flown back to Jakarta on Sunday morning.
The family plans to have a final prayer for Ani at the family home in Cikeas, West Java, before her funeral at the Kalibata cemetery in South Jakarta on Sunday afternoon.