President Ram Nath Kovind and leaders from various political parties paid tributes to eminent journalist Kuldip Nayar, who passed away at the age of 95 today, describing him as an intellectual giant and a champion of democracy whose contribution to the cause of free speech was unparalleled. Nayar, who fought fiercely for press freedom and civil liberties, died around 12.30 am at the Escorts Hospital here today. He was suffering from pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital five days back. President Kovind hailed Nayar as a determined champion of democracy. Sad to hear of the passing of Kuldip Nayar, veteran editor and writer, diplomat and parliamentarian, and a determined champion of democracy during the Emergency. His readers will miss him. Condolences to his family and associates #PresidentKovind, the official Twitter account of the Rashtrapati Bhavan posted. Prime Minister Narendra Modi remembered Nayar as a frank and fearless intellectual giant. Kuldip Nayar was an intellectual giant of our times. Frank and fearless in his views, his work spanned across many decades. His strong stand against the Emergency, public service and commitment to a better India will always be remembered. Saddened by his demise. My condolences, he said on Twitter. BJP Chief Amit Shah said Nayar was a committed social worker, pillar of journalism, deft diplomat and an excellent author. This is an irreparable loss to the world of journalism, he said in a statement. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Nayars contribution to the cause of free speech was unparalleled. Saddened by the death of the veteran Journalist Sh. Kuldip Nayar. His contribution to the cause of free speech is unparalleled. He is credited with breaking some of the most exclusive news stories. Will be best remembered for his struggle against the emergency, he said. Union minister and LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan said he was a journalist who always stood for an independent media and strongly believed in strengthening democracy. This was the reason he was jailed, Paswan said. The veteran journalist, a proponent of India-Pakistan peace, is survived by his wife and two sons. His last rites were performed at the Lodhi Crematorium in New Delhi at 1 pm. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh also condoled the demise of Nayar. In a letter to the late journalists wife, Bharti, he said Nayar had served the country in various capacities and with great distinction. I have learnt with profound sorrow about the sad demise of your beloved husband Kuldeep Nayar. He served the country in various capacities with great distinction. He was a veteran journalist, diplomat, parliamentarian and author. He wore many hats in his decades of public life. I write to convey to you and members of your family my heartfelt condolences on this sad occasion, he said in his condolence letter. Union ministers J P Nadda, Ashwini Choubey, Harsh Vardhan and other leaders also expressed their condolences. Saddened by the death of veteran journalist and author #KuldeepNayar. He championed Freedom of the Press and was an ardent advocate of human rights. My condolences to his family, friends and the fraternity of journalists, DMK Working President M K Stalin tweeted. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao also conveyed his condolences to the family. CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said that his (Nayars) advocacy of people-to-people ties with Pakistan was special. He said Nayar always vigorously supported democratic rights and civil liberties. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her grief and extended her condolences to Nayars family, admirers and colleagues. The Punjab cabinet, led by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, observed one-minute silence as a mark of respect to Nayar. It described him as a multi-faceted personality, who served in different capacities, an official release said.