Jakarta – Salahuddin Wahid, a key figure in Indonesia's largest Muslim group Nahdlatul Ulama, passed away during treatment at a Jakarta hospital on Sunday evening. He was 77.
Better known as Gus Solah, the younger brother of the late president Abdurrahman Wahid was treated at Harapan Kita Hospital for heart problems. His relatives said he died after undergoing a surgery at the hospital.
Gus Solah is also known as a politician, having served as a member of the People's Consultative Assembly, the country's highest law-making body, during the "reformasi" era in late 1990s.
In 2004, he became a running mate for presidential candidate Wiranto but the pair failed to get through the first round.
His grandfather, Hasyim Asy'ari, is the founder of Nahdlatul Ulama, which has more than 50 million Muslim followers.
"I just received the sad news, that Salahuddin Wahid – a prominent cleric, activist and politician – has passed away this evening," President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo wrote on his Instagram account.
"The late Gus Solah is the son of national hero Wahid Hasyim and the younger brother of Indonesia's fourth president Abdurrahman Wahid. On behalf of my family, the government and all the people, I extend my deepest condolence upon his passing," the president said.
Gus Solah led Tebuireng, one of Indonesia's largest Muslim boarding schools based in Jombang, East Java.
Among his key contributions to the country was the establishment of the Agency for the Implementation of the State Ideology of Pancasila (BPIP), which campaigns for religious tolerance, among other things, Nahdlatul Ulama Chairman Said Agil Siroj told Kompas TV.
The agency is now led by former president Megawati Soekarnoputri.
"I learned a lot from his ease of manner, unmoved principles and humility," Said Agil said of Gus Solah. "His biggest contribution is the establishment of the BPIP, which came from his idea," he said.