Girish Chodankar, who replaced Naik, as state Congress president in April told IANS from Panaji: “Naik passed away around 6.30 a.m.”
“He complained of chest pain, after which he was rushed to a private hospital in Margao town,” Chodankar said. He was declared brought dead at the Trimurti hospital.
Naik’s last rites would take place on Sunday at 10.30 a.m. at his native village Cuncolim in south Goa, he added.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi condoling the death, said: “I’m sorry to hear about the passing away of Shri Shantaram Naik, former Goa Congress Chief, MP and senior Congress leader, who played an important role in the battle for Goa’s statehood.
“My condolences to his family in their time of grief. May his soul rest in peace,” Gandhi tweeted.
Naik, who headed the Goa Congress until recently, represented the state in Rajya Sabha for two consecutive terms — from 2005 to 2011 and from 2011 to 2017.
Beginning his political career in 1967, Naik joined the Congress as a party worker and successfully contested the North Goa Lok Sabha seat in 1984.
He was also instrumental in the passage of the bill that led to Goa’s statehood on May 30, 1987.