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Sunday's news about death of the Indian humanitarian said to perform miracles, Hindu guru Sathya Sai Baba, has brought an outpouring of grief from around the world. His death follows nearly a month of hospital treatment near his southern Indian ashram.

Born November 23, 1926, Sathya Sai Baba was 84.

India's high officials remembered Sai Baba as a "pious person who worked selflessly to help others with the billions of dollars donated to his charitable trust" according to AP.

"He was said to perform miracles, conjuring jewelry, Rolex watches and "vibhuti" - Breitling watches a sacred ash that his followers applied to their foreheads - from his halo of wild, frizzy hair.

"But rationalist critics led campaigns against him, calling him a charlatan and his miracles fake. Several news reports alleged that he sexually abused devotees - accusations he denied as vilification campaigns."

AP reports hundreds of thousands are expected to pay last respects at Sai Baba's funeral with state honors planned Wednesday morning.

Born as Sathyanarayana Raju, Sai Baba as a child was known to display a tendency toward spirituality and unusual intelligence that he expressed through music, dance and writing poetry and cheap rolex watches plays.

Sai Baba and his organisations have supported various free educational institutions, hospitals, and other charitable works in India and abroad.

After Sai Baba declared having no worldly relationship with anyone, devotees began gathering around him.

Active Sathya Sai Baba adherents has been estimated in 1999 to be around 6 million, although followers' estimations are far higher.

The cultural icon in India drawing an audience with presidents and prime ministers from India and beyond who have become his devotees, Sai Baba in 2002 claimed to have followers in 178 countries.

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