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Altitude killed ex-minister, 82, on Everest

12 may 2011, 11:55
Altitude sickness killed an 82-year-old former Nepalese foreign minister who died this week attempting to become the oldest person to climb Mount Everest, AFP reports, citing government official on Wednesday.

Shailendra Kumar Upadhyaya died on Monday afternoon, just hours after arriving at camp one in his record attempt.

Tilak Pandey, a tourism ministry official at the Everest base camp, said Upadhyaya had attempted to return to base camp after realising he was suffering from the onset of altitude sickness.

"About 100 metres (yards) below camp one, he asked his sherpa guide for water. He collapsed immediately after drinking it," Pandey told AFP by phone. "He died of altitude sickness."

Upadhyaya's body was flown back to Kathmandu on Wednesday and cremated in keeping with Hindu traditions.

The former minister's younger brother, Mahesh Upadhyaya, said the two had spoken by radio two days before his death.

"He was hopeful that he would reach the top, and asked me to thank all his well-wishers," he said.

Acute mountain sickness is brought on by the combination of reduced air pressure and lower oxygen concentration that occurs at high altitudes.

Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening, and can affect the nervous system, lungs, muscles, and heart.

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