President Tony Tan Keng Yam headed a line of Singapore leaders and retired office-holders in government who visited former president S R Nathan in hospital yesterday after he suffered a stroke.
The President and his wife Mary were among the first to visit Mr Nathan, 92, at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) in the afternoon.
He said he and his wife were saddened by the news and "will keep Mr Nathan in our prayers".
Others who went to see him included Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong and former Speaker of Parliament Abdullah Tarmugi were also among his visitors.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is on an official visit to the United States, said he was saddened to hear of Mr Nathan's "grave condition".
He also posted on his Facebook page a picture of a maple tree Mr Nathan had planted at the Singapore Embassy in Washington, DC where he was ambassador from 1990 to 1996. "He made many good friends for Singapore, and planted many seeds, including this beautiful antique Littleleaf Japanese Maple," Mr Lee wrote.
Mr Goh wrote on Facebook that the attending doctor told him
Mr Nathan's vital signs were stable, but that it was "too early to say how he would progress". Earlier, he told reporters at SGH: "He is a fighter. He has gone through this many times."
Mr Nathan had a stroke in April last year and was warded at SGH for nearly three weeks. He had been undergoing dialysis for kidney failure in recent months. Mr Goh said they last met three or four months ago in Mr Nathan's home in Joo Chiat.
One of Mr Nathan's latest public appearances was in end-May at the launch of the book Majulah! 50 Years Of Malay/Muslim Community In Singapore.
Former Senior Minister of State Zainul Abidin Rasheed, who was at the book event, told reporters he met Mr Nathan last week. "He was in top spirits and talking about the contributions of the Malay/Muslim community."
Mr Abdullah said that although people knew Mr Nathan had been ill for some time, the news that he had a stroke was still very shocking. "I think all Singaporeans are quite shocked and concerned."
Dr Ng disclosed on Facebook that Mr Nathan had written to him last week, saying he had a stroke a year ago and recovered. "He then added pensively that he had 'soldiered on and hoped to stay active for another year, before I call it a day'.
"What a remarkable man, I thought to myself. It could not be easy, but even at this age and with declining health, Mr Nathan still wanted to contribute and make a difference in the lives of others, at least for another year," he wrote.