Decorated Iban war hero Datuk Kanang Langkau collapsed while watching television at home in Sg Apong here Wednesday night.
He was rushed to the Sarawak General Hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was 68.
Kanang had complained of chest pains while watching television.
Born in Julau in 1945, Kanang served in the Royal Ranger Regiment and as Regimental Sergeant Major of 8 Renjer (8th Rangers) of the Malaysian Army.
He was awarded the Panglima Gagah Berani and Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa medals from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on June 3, 1981.
Kanang joined the service with the Sarawak Rangers, then part of the British Army, as an Iban Tracker on April 21, 1962.
He was absorbed into the Malaysian Rangers when Malaysia was proclaimed on Sept 16, 1963. Kanang retired as a First Warrant Officer after 21 years of service.
Kanang, the last surviving recipient of the Sri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa received the prestigious Panglima Gemilang Bintang Kenyalang last year from Head of State Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin. The award carries the title Datuk'.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi extended his condolences to the family.
"We have lost a national hero and I too have lost a good friend," he said after attending the graduation ceremony for diploma holders from the Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College.
Ahmad Zahid added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has ordered the armed forces to prepare a memorial service
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By Samra Arshad
International Conference "Expose War Crimes – Criminalise War"
“Wars increasingly involve the killings of innocent people and are therefore, abhorrent and criminal. Killings in war are as criminal as the killings within societies in times of peace. Since killings in peace time are subject to the domestic law of crime, killings in war must likewise be subject to the international law of crimes. This should be so irrespective of whether these killings in war are authorised or permitted by domestic laws.”