Ani Yudhoyono, Indonesia's former first lady, dies at 66

Members of the public at Mrs Ani Yudhoyono's wake yesterday. She will be buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta today. Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono walking beside the casket of his late wife Ani Yudhoyono, on the wa
Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono walking beside the casket of his late wife Ani Yudhoyono, on the way to the mosque of the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore. Carrying the casket are their sons Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (front, left) and Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono (right).ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Dr Yudhoyono greeting well-wishers at the Indonesian Embassy yesterday after the final prayer rites for his late wife.
Dr Yudhoyono greeting well-wishers at the Indonesian Embassy yesterday after the final prayer rites for his late wife.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Members of the public at Mrs Ani Yudhoyono's wake yesterday. She will be buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta today. Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono walking beside the casket of his late wife Ani Yudhoyono, on the wa
Members of the public at Mrs Ani Yudhoyono's wake yesterday. She will be buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta today.ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG
Members of the public at Mrs Ani Yudhoyono's wake yesterday. She will be buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta today. Former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono walking beside the casket of his late wife Ani Yudhoyono, on the wa
Mrs Ani Yudhoyono

Wife of country's 6th president had been treated for leukaemia at NUH since February

The wife of Indonesia's sixth president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono died at the National University Hospital (NUH) yesterday.

Mrs Ani Yudhoyono, 66, had been treated for leukaemia at the hospital since February this year soon after the diagnosis was revealed by Singaporean doctors.

Democratic Party spokesman Imelda Sari said Mrs Yudhoyono died at 11.50am, surrounded by family members.

The couple's eldest son, Mr Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, said in a statement: "On behalf of our family, I do apologise as deeply as possible if there were speech or actions of the departed, our mother, which had hurt you all."

Early last week, Mrs Yudhoyono - whose maiden name was Kristiani Herrawati - was treated in a special quarantine room at NUH after her health worsened, so as to avoid viral and bacterial infection, her family members said.

During her treatment at the hospital, she received many visitors and well-wishers. Among them was Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who visited her in February.

A SPECIAL WOMAN

We can judge a person's character, kindness and sincerity from how she treats her daughters-in-law. Memo is one in a million.

MADAM ANNISA POHAN, the wife of Mr Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, in a tribute to her mother-in-law on her Instagram account just a few hours before her death. She is referring to the affectionate name given to Mrs Ani Yudhoyono by her sons.

Mrs Yudhoyono's condition was announced by her husband in early February at a news conference.

The former president, 69, said a week later that he would not participate in any campaign activities during the Indonesian general election and that he would be at his wife's side until her health improved.

Mrs Yudhoyono had been a pillar of strength for her husband during his presidency from 2004 to 2014. Prior to being warded in Singapore, she had accompanied him on political tours to North Sumatra and Aceh as patron of the Democratic Party.

The couple married in 1976 and have two sons, Agus and Edhie Baskoro Yudhoyono. They have four grandchildren.

Madam Annisa Pohan, the wife of Mr Agus, wrote a tribute to her mother-in-law on her Instagram account just a few hours before her death, along with their picture.

Mrs Ani Yudhoyono shared her struggle with cancer through Instagram. She last posted a picture of herself with her husband outside the hospital ward on May 16.
Mrs Ani Yudhoyono shared her struggle with cancer through Instagram. She last posted a picture of herself with her husband outside the hospital ward on May 16. PHOTO: ANI YUDHOYONO/ FACEBOOK

  • Big photography fan, social media enthusiast

  • Mrs Ani Yudhoyono was widely known as an avid photographer and she was active on social media platforms, particularly Instagram, where she had 6.4 million followers.

    Despite her illness, she remained positive and even shared her struggle with the disease through Instagram.

    "Insya Allah (God willing), I will never give up fighting this cancer," she posted.

    She would capture natural beauty, street scenes and family moments on her camera or smartphone, and continued doing so even on her bed at the National University Hospital.

    On Feb 24, Mrs Yudhoyono took a picture of the sunrise from the window of her ward and posted it on her Instagram account - aniyudhoyono.

    "The rising sun always brings a different mental condition. It will never be the same. But surely, it will always carry new hopes for me, for you and for all of us," she wrote.

    Earlier on Feb 11, more than a week after her hospitalisation, she captured a card drawn and written by her nine-year-old grandchild, Almira Tunggadewi Yudhoyono, the daughter of her first son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and Madam Annisa Pohan.

    And her physical weakness did not hinder her from voting in Indonesia's legislative and presidential elections in April.

    She cast her ballot from her bed, showing the poll cards next to a poll box, in one of her Instagram pictures.

    She last posted a picture of herself in a wheelchair with her husband outside the hospital ward on May 16. "Alhamdulillah (God be praised), after three months of not breathing fresh air, today I was permitted by the doctor to leave the room to see the green leaves, blue sky and have some fresh air even if it was only for one or two hours."

    Linda Yulisman

"We can judge a person's character, kindness and sincerity from how she treats her daughters-in-law. Memo is one in a million," she said, referring to Mrs Yudhoyono's affectionate name as given by her sons.

Dr Mari Elka Pangestu, who held two Cabinet posts during Dr Yudhoyono's tenure, said she was deeply saddened by Mrs Yudhoyono's death. "She was an extraordinary first lady. She was strong, but also warm… She was humble and had exceptional charisma," she told The Sunday Times by phone.

In Jakarta, Mr Joko expressed his deep condolences.

"I'm asking all Indonesian people to pray together for the departed so that she will be given the best place by the side of Allah... and that her family will be given fortitude," he said in a Metro TV broadcast.

Members of Mr Joko's Cabinet visited the Yudhoyono family in Singapore. Among them were Finance Minister Sri Mulyani, who flew in from Jakarta, and Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan, who was in Singapore for an official visit.

Dr Yudhoyono conveyed his gratitude for the condolences. He said that during her treatment in Singapore, Mrs Yudhoyono had revealed a number of plans for her friends, relatives and the Indonesian people if she were cured and could return to Indonesia.

"But God decided on a different fate. Therefore, my family and I, God willing, will realise unfulfilled dreams, aspirations and plans of Bu Ani," he said at the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore.

Mrs Yudhoyono's remains were transferred from the embassy yesterday to Paya Lebar Air Base and flown to Indonesia's Halim Perdanakusuma airport in East Jakarta, and later transported to her house in Cikeas, Bogor, in West Java.

She will be buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in Jakarta today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 02, 2019, with the headline 'Ani Yudhoyono, Indonesia's former first lady, dies at 66'. Print Edition | Subscribe