PETALING JAYA: Academic and activist Dr Kassim Ahmad (pic) has died from lung problems at the Kulim Hospital in Kedah on Tuesday.
His son, Ahmad Shauqi Kassim, confirmed his passing.
According to Ahmad Shauqi, Dr Kassim's body will be sent to the family's home in Kulim, Kedah in a few hours and the family will be making burial arrangements later in the evening.
He had fallen into a coma at around 4am Monday after complaining of difficulty breathing. He passed away at around 10am on Tuesday at the age of 84.
Born on Sept 9, 1933 in Kedah, Dr Kassim studied at the University of Malaya in Singapore in the 1950s. He began his career as a controversial figure there with his dissertation arguing that Hang Jebat was the true hero of the Hikayat Hang Tuah.
He later taught Malay studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and then returned to Malaysia in 1966.
Dr Kassim was chairman of Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM) for 18 years before joining Umno in 1986.
He was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) between 1976 and 1981 while with PSRM.
Two months ago, he was acquitted and discharged by the Syariah Court over charges of insulting Islam and disobeying a Federal Territories fatwa (edict) at a seminar in February 2014.