Expressing deep anguish over Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat's death in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday said his untimely demise is an irreparable loss to the armed forces and the country. Gen Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other people on board an Indian Air Force helicopter died in a crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, the Indian Air Force said.

"Deeply anguished by the sudden demise of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 other armed forces personnel in an extremely unfortunate helicopter accident today in Tamil Nadu," Singh tweeted.

"His untimely death is an irreparable loss to our armed forces and the country," the defence minister said.

Singh said General Rawat had served the country with exceptional courage and diligence.