BJP MLA and former deputy Chief Minister of Goa Francis D'Souza passed away at a hospital in US on Thursday evening. He was 64. His fellow party members confirmed the news of his demise. D'Souza was being treated at a private hospital after undergoing cancer surgery in the US. His death also means the strength of BJP in the 40-member Goa assembly will drop down to 13. "I am deeply saddened by the news.I extend my deepest sympathies to his family. May the departed soul be at peace," south Goa BJP lawmaker Narendra Sawaikar tweeted. "We lost an iconic leader who started his career from scratch as councillor and rose to a topmost post," Sawaikar added. Goa BJP spokesperson Damodar Naik expressed grief over D'Souza\u2019s death, saying that the party lost an iconic leader who had started his innings from a councillor and rose to become a deputy chief minister. Due to his health issues, D'Souza was dropped from the Manohar Parrikar-led Goa government. The former deputy Chief Minister of Goa won a seat to Goa Legislative Assembly in the year 1999 as a Goa Congress party candidate. He later switched to the BJP and then was elected to the assembly in years - 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017 - from Mapusa. D'Souza had been appointed as deputy Chief Minister of Goa when BJP formed the government in 2012 under Manohar Parrikar. The 64-year-old continued with the post in the Laxmikant Parsekar-led cabinet as well.