India's sporting stars joined the country in mourning the tragic demise of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and 12 others on Wednesday, describing it as a sad day for the nation. (More Sports News)
The 63-year-old Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other armed forces personnel died on Wednesday after the military helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu, the Indian Air Force said.
"Deeply saddened by the untimely demise of CDS Bipin Rawat ji and other officials in a tragic helicopter crash. My deepest condolences to the friends & family members," tweeted India Test cricket captain Virat Kohli.
Offering his condolences, Sachin Tendulkar wrote: "Gen Bipin Rawat's pride and utmost commitment for India was palpable. It's a sad day for India and our defence forces.
"Prayers for the departed souls of Gen Rawat, Mrst rawat and all the defence forces personnel who were in this unfortunate incident."
The lone survivor, Group Captain Varun Singh, is currently under treatment at a military hospital in Wellington.
"Praying for the speedy recovery of Gp Capt Varun Singh," Tendulkar wrote.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and London Olympics bronze winner shuttler Saina Nehwal also took to the micoblogging site to offer their prayers.
"Extremely tragic news about the helicopter crash near Conoor. RIP," tweeted Mirabai.
Saina wrote: "Very sad to hear about the news …RIP #bipinrawat sir."
Athletics Federation of India shared a two year old photograph of Rawat, which was taken during his participation at the One-mile run event.
"We have lost a great lover and supporter of sport... Rest in Peace Chief," AFI tweeted.
"Such a tragic loss!" wrote AFI president Adille Sumariwalla.
Former India cricketers such as Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman and others too paid their condolences, calling his passing away as "tragic".
"Deeply saddened by the tragic and untimely demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat, his wife Mrs. Madhulika Rawat and 11 other personnel of our armed forces. My deepest condolences to their families and well-wishers," Yuvraj tweeted.
Former opener Virender Sehwag tweeted, "Extremely pained to hear about the passing away of Shri #BipinRawat , his wife Madhulika Rawat and 11 army personnel in the tragic helicopter crash. Gratitude for his wonderful service to the nation."
India pacer Mohammed Shami wrote: "Very sad news & Deeply saddened to hear about the BipinRawat and his wife in a helicopter crash. The nation will always be grateful to Sir Bipin Rawat & his wife Madhulika Rawat & 11 more soldiers. Rest in Peace."
Former Test batsman VVS Laxman too was left saddened by the tragic loss of Rawat.
"Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Sh. #BipinRawat and his wife in a tragic helicopter crash. The nation will always be grateful to Gen. Rawat for his service to the nation."
Former seamer Venkatesh Prasad described Rawat as someone who felt like a family to him.
"There are some men who feel like ones from our family. Our security forces feel like family and feel extremely pained to hear about the demise of CDS #BipinRawat and his wife in the tragic helicopter crash. May Parmatma give Sadgati to the bravehearts who lost their lives."
Legendary sprinter PT Usha also was left deeply anguished by the news of his tragic demise.
"Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Gen. Bipin Rawat, CDS, Mrs. Rawat, and the 11 others on board the chopper. My prayers for the departed souls, and deepest condolences to the families."