Former Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, 69, who briefly ruled during the nation's first tumultuous years of democracy and sought peace in far-flung secessionist provinces, died yesterday.

Professor Yusuf Misbach, head of his medical team, said the former president died during surgery at a Jakarta hospital to remove a blood clot in his heart. President Wahid's condition had deteriorated because of complications with diabetes and kidney failure.

President Wahid, known fondly by the nickname Gus Dur, was a proponent of moderate Islam and a democratic reformer who ultimately was unable to implement his ambitious ideas in the vast island state of 235 million people.

During nearly two years in power, from October 1999 to July 2001, he created a broad coalition of unity amid political and financial chaos following the downfall of the dictator Suharto in 1998 after 32 years.

In a nationwide speech, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono expressed his condolences to the family and announced he would preside over the funeral scheduled for today in President Wahid's hometown of Jombang.

He also ordered a week of national mourning and flags lowered to half-staff.

- AP