Former Indian President KR Narayanan has died at the age of 85, the defence ministry has said.
KR Narayanan (left) with current President APJ Kalam
Mr Narayanan had fallen into a coma a week ago after being admitted to hospital with pneumonia.
Mr Narayanan was the first member of the Dalit or untouchable caste to become president, a position he held from 1997 to 2002.
Correspondents say Mr Narayanan had been suffering from poor health for some time.
He had a long association with the Congress Party after India's first Prime Minister, Jawarlal Nehru, appointed him to the diplomatic service.
Mr Narayanan was admitted to the Army's Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi on 29 October suffering from pneumonia and kidney failure, defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.
Analysts say Mr Narayanan's rise to the presidential office from the Dalit caste was seen by many as an affirmation of India's democratic roots.
The caste system was banned in 1950 but centuries of tradition made it difficult to break entrenched attitudes.
Mr Narayanan's rise to an important if largely ceremonial role was considered a remarkable achievement.
Narayanan, here with Britain's Blairs, had a spotless reputation
He preferred not to focus on his background but did talk on the subject in a 1998 television interview, saying: "If you can see one consistent tendency in India, one trend in India, from the time of the Buddha onwards, it is the slow, but steady movement of the lower classes among the scale of the class system.
"But it has been very slow. It took 2,000 years. But it is something which is going on."
Before becoming president, Mr Narayanan served as Indian ambassador in Beijing and Washington.
He won a seat in parliament in 1980 and enjoyed an impeccably clean reputation.