Criminal lawyer Subhas Anandan, 67, died in the Singapore General Hospital on Wednesday morning.
Mr Sunil Sudheesan, who is Mr Subhas’ nephew, told The Straits Times he was informed about his uncle’s death before an appeal case on Wednesday.
But he stayed in court till the case was over before going to the hospital. Tearing up, Mr Sunil said: “(Subhas) would have wanted me to finish the appeal.”
Mr Subhas had been in ill health, and he was diagnosed with heart and kidney failure last year. He had three heart attacks since 1978, lost one kidney to cancer in 2001, suffered diabetes and blocked intestines.
The prominent lawyer, a senior partner at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing and president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers in Singapore, had earned a reputation for defending notorious criminals, many a time pro bono.
He defended Anthony Ler, who hired a teenager to kill his wife in 2001; Took Leng How, a vegetable packer who befriended eight-year-old girl Huang Na, then killed her in 2004; and Leong Siew Chor, who chopped up a woman he killed in the Kallang body parts case.
Another client was ex-stewardess Constance Chee, who abducted her ex-lover’s four-year-old daughter and caused her death after a fall from a flat in 2004.
In his career, he had taken on more than 2,500 cases since he was called to the Bar in 1971 after graduating from the then University of Singapore.
Said senior lawyer Amolat Singh, a long-time friend of Mr Subhas: “Everybody is in utter disbelief. It’s a very shocking piece of news, like a bolt out of the blue. He was out and about, always giving people encouragement. There was never a moment that we thought he was going so soon. He was always a fighter.”
Mr Subhas had a second book, titled It’s Easy To Cry, that is due on the shelves later this year.
He leaves behind his wife, Vimala, 56, and son Sujesh, 24.